“Obama was very dismissive of the Russians, calling them a regional power; they didn’t want to think too much about Russia, ”she said. “But the world has changed completely. Biden can’t do Obama 2.0. They’re going to have to think differently. “
Mr. Putin’s message to Mr. Biden does not betray any hostility and, in the words of the Kremlin, “expressed confidence that Russia and the United States, which bear special responsibility for global security and stability, can , despite their differences, effectively contribute to solving many problems and meeting the challenges facing the world today. “
Mr Biden has a limited but controversial personal history with Mr Putin, whom he only met once, during a trip to Moscow in 2011, when Mr Putin was prime minister. After a long and “controversial” official meeting, as Mr. Biden recalls in a brief, he joined Mr. Putin in his office for a private conversation.
“Sir. Prime Minister, I’m looking you in the eye,” Mr. Biden recalls telling him with a smile, a nod to former President George W. Bush’s infamous claim for making same and saw his “soul”.
“I don’t think you have a soul,” Mr. Biden told Mr. Putin. The Russian leader seemed something less than offended, responding, also with a smile: “We understand each other”.
Michael A. McFaul, former US ambassador to Moscow, recalled the trip and said that Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin had a “marked exchange of differences” on Russia’s approach to the surrounding region. , especially the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine.
“We have moved on from this meeting at the Prime Minister’s office to his next meeting with the Russian opposition,” McFaul said. “He had no qualms about it. He made the headlines there saying, ‘I told Putin he shouldn’t be running for a third term.’ “