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Assessing the summit

Nick Robinson | 16:15 UK time, Friday, 8 June 2007

Tony Blair has just got onto Blairforce One - he came here by helicopter following what he describes as 'very frank' talks with Vladimir Putin. He said that the atmosphere in the room, on a personal level, was (and I quote) "perfectly cordial" - not exactly the warmest language he could have used. The PM went on to say that the issues that had been raised had "not been resolved" - the issues discussed being energy, the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, and of course, the missile defence system.

The PM will be, I suspect, pleased with what has gone on at this summit, but his concern over Russia is absolutely palpable - you can almost feel it. He told us that the Russian president had set out his belief to him that his country wasn't properly treated by the West, and Blair in return had said to him that Russia was a real cause of concern. Mr Blair added, almost wistfully, that he had been "perfectly frank" with Mr Putin - but said that what follows now would be another matter.

It's striking how the tone of the rhetoric has changed in just a couple of days. Earlier in the week we had this extraordinary Cold War rhetoric, where the Russian president kept referring directly to the conflict, to the sight of Mr Putin and George W Bush grinning at each other, gripping each other's hands in front of the camera, with Putin offering what he described as a compromise. In truth what is probably happening is that he's playing to two audiences - an audience at home that wants to see him stand up for Russia, and an international audience which wants to be reassured that Russia can be a predictable partner in international negotiations.

Comments

It might have been a good opportunity to ask Putin if Russia might consider joining the EU.

  • 2.
  • At 06:34 PM on 08 Jun 2007,
  • Professor Andrew Liakhov wrote:

It will be interesting to see whether Blair will dare to comment further on the "real" concerns of his in relation to Russia. Unlike Putin Blair prefers to believe his spin doctors rather than professional analysts.
If he attempts to pursue this issue further one can reasonably expect the very pulpable conflict between Scotland Yard and the CPS over indictments in Litvinenko's case, Lord Levy's connections with Berezovsky's and current British investigations into Berezovsky's affairs in this country to become public. This I think is what Mr.Blair is desperate to avoid - last thing he needs is a domestic scandal with possible irreparable damage both to the Labour Party and his legacy.

Cordial, or not, Mr Blair has the ability and experienced approach in handling matters on the international stage.

The last ten years have proven to be very challenging at times for the man born in Edinburgh, publicly, exposed to the media like no other Prime Minister before and privately too.

With Mr Blair stepping down from the role of Prime Minister in only a short period of time, one wonders how the international role of the next Prime Minister is going to be played out.

I agree, what follows now is indeed another matter as I am sure countries like Russia among others will be paying very close attention to the Glasgow born successor!

  • 4.
  • At 07:02 PM on 08 Jun 2007,
  • Ade wrote:

I agree with post Nr. 1 - a missed opportunity. Still, poor old Blair probably confused the EU with Eurovision.

  • 5.
  • At 07:29 PM on 08 Jun 2007,
  • Dee wrote:

i think more people in the World are concerned with American and British foreign policy not Russian. US is like a cowboy that doesnt care what anybody has to say. For example,what grounds does USA have to proclaim (hasn't been done YET) Kosovo independent? UN Resolution 1244 states that Kosovo is permanent part of Serbia.

Yes, yes, this political stuff is all very well but can't we have some more details about the steam train you rode on?

  • 7.
  • At 09:05 PM on 08 Jun 2007,
  • Terry Bedding wrote:

Blair acting as Bush's stooge again! Has Blair considered that there are many in the West, especially in his own country, who are very fearful of aggressive, USA foreign policies?

  • 8.
  • At 09:16 PM on 08 Jun 2007,
  • gobadine wrote:

I can understand the Russian peoples concerns. Communism ends and they become everyone's best friend.

The west goes steaming in to buy gas/oil etc at a fraction of the cost, and when Russia finally gets in line with the actual worth of its assets it pushes the price up to a proper market value.

The west gets upset that the cheap fuel days are over and starts throwing comments at Putin having a dig at issues in his country. While the US and UK are still illegally invading another country, for oil.

Finally Putin gets fed up as the US all but states it's starting up its cold war arms race and aiming it at Russia. (Because Iraq, Iran Syria have no chance of getting a missile to the mainland US)

Putin loses his rag and gives them some old fashioned Russian stick.

Made them sit up and pay attention, didn't it.


  • 9.
  • At 09:19 PM on 08 Jun 2007,
  • roger davies wrote:

let Mr Bush put some defence systems in Russia there ya go sorted it gives faith in russia and russia faith in us now vote for me for a better world ..... mmm

  • 10.
  • At 10:19 PM on 08 Jun 2007,
  • Damien wrote:

Looks like Blair and England's administration has woken up to the scam that the USSR pulled to pretend to be friends.

They haven't disarmed, their military is stronger than it was during the cold war.

The west's military is weaker, and growing weaker by the day.

USA is still asleep, Russia and China are preparing to attack. WAKE UP!

  • 11.
  • At 11:02 PM on 08 Jun 2007,
  • careforworld wrote:

these days media is being used for political aims, disregarding the true facts of any specific case. Russia is becoming stronger, and the west is very disappointed. Of course it's US and Bush and the missileshields, which are the real problem, not Putin, who reacts to them.

We've also recently seen a blackpaint campaign on Chavez and Venezuela, by the western media on account of the miserable rctv license nonrenewal. From BBC I heard several reporters tell blatant lies on the mediasituation of Venezuela.

I find it quite scary.

  • 12.
  • At 11:48 PM on 08 Jun 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Russia in the EU, now wouldn't that upset the USofA.

Parts of Russia fall within parts of Europe so there is no reason why Russia couldn't join.

  • 13.
  • At 08:13 AM on 09 Jun 2007,
  • Clive Hill wrote:

Reading the vague innuendo-laden drivel from Professor Andrew Liakhov below, you have to wonder who he works for and just how much of a spin machine the Russians have working on the internet.

  • 14.
  • At 08:17 AM on 09 Jun 2007,
  • alex wrote:

Gobadine, please tell me when exactly the West (UK, Germany, France etc) was buying oil/gas ät a "fraction of the" world price from Russia? Intreagued.....

  • 15.
  • At 10:42 AM on 09 Jun 2007,
  • Stephan wrote:

Could it be that the American ignorance and arrogance has tipped Russia over, after rattling the feathers of most Arab states in the past few years.

The Americans are quite happy in jailing people all over Europe, redrawing European borders and slicing and dicing potential EU states, placing 'shields' where they see fit...

Maybe Russia is not the problem this time round?

  • 16.
  • At 11:14 AM on 09 Jun 2007,
  • Angie Rowland-Stuart wrote:

Russia in the EU? It's quite bad enough having the rest of the former eastern bloc in it and having to put up with all their nonsense.

  • 17.
  • At 02:53 PM on 09 Jun 2007,
  • Tim wrote:

So basically Blair's policy of snuggling up to Putin a few years back has blown up in his face.

  • 18.
  • At 05:01 PM on 09 Jun 2007,
  • Dirk wrote:

The Russian's are rather like the French. They just want to show the world they are power enough to go against America and Britain even if it's the wrong thing to do. It's a childish game of egos which makes me glad Russia isn't part of the EU and makes me wish we could boot France out of Europe.

  • 19.
  • At 07:41 PM on 09 Jun 2007,
  • Daniel wrote:

It is Putin himself who is responsible for playing the dangerous politics of nationalism.

MY ASSESSMENT OF THE SUMMIT.

ANOTHER GLOBAL FAILURE.

I can't help but feel that things need to be sorted so relations, and the issue, is more than 'unresolved' and so Blair feels better than 'perfectly cordial'. It does concern me somewhat that this is all he can say - an indication that things are indeed worse than they appear at face value?

I also agree with the first post. Russia in the EU would be a good step in the right direction.

  • 22.
  • At 12:38 PM on 11 Jun 2007,
  • Dean Bullen wrote:

A lot of people were calling for Gordon Brown to represent us at the G8 instead of "lame duck" Tony Blair. I wonder if this shows the other side of the coin - Blair's impending departure gives him the opportunity to speak more frankly on these big issues. Can you imagine Gordon Brown picking a fight with Putin in his first summit as Prime Minister?

  • 23.
  • At 04:30 PM on 12 Jun 2007,
  • Peter Bolt wrote:

Perhaps if one or two journalists were shot down in cold blood, similar to the shootings in Moscow, the UK Press would "moderate" their
views about Blair.
Seems to work in Russia.

  • 24.
  • At 06:41 PM on 12 Jun 2007,
  • Dr.Stuart M Brown wrote:

The UK and US need to wake up to the brutal reality of Russian government. Its leaders are KGB trained and absolutely ruthless.Putin showed his contempt for Blair's Britain by committing a political murder on British soil.Unfortunately Cameron is unlikely to say'boo' to a goose either. Remember how Regan and Thatcher brought the iron curtain down through a position of strength. Cheap anti-Americanism is all too much a characteristic of the left in this country. They need reminding of our common values with the US: unfortunately not shared with the leaders of Russi.

  • 25.
  • At 06:53 PM on 12 Jun 2007,
  • Dr.Stuart M Brown wrote:

The UK and US need to wake up to the brutal reality of Russian government. Its leaders are KGB trained and absolutely ruthless.Putin showed his contempt for Blair's Britain by committing a political murder on British soil.Unfortunately Cameron is unlikely to say'boo' to a goose either. Remember how Regan and Thatcher brought the iron curtain down through a position of strength. Cheap anti-Americanism is all too much a characteristic of the left in this country. They need reminding of our common values with the US: unfortunately not shared with the leaders of Russia.

  • 26.
  • At 07:21 PM on 12 Jun 2007,
  • Paul wrote:

If the US is so insistent on its right to plant missiles on Russia's doorstep, maybe Putin needs to find somewhere nice and close to the USA to do the same. Cuba maybe? Haven't we been here before?

  • 27.
  • At 05:24 PM on 15 Jun 2007,
  • zaccaro wrote:

Try to understand just how shafted russian people were.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/article/0,2763,1212245,00.html

If the west can prove they're not such a bunch of hustlers, and can behave as friends - maybe russian people will allow themselves to believe in more hopeful times again.

  • 28.
  • At 02:31 PM on 22 Jun 2007,
  • jim evans wrote:

Dear Nick

Dont you ever get bored with all this political claptrap. BOOOORING,
One percent of the worlds population who are our so called Peers, make and break the rules that govern, us, I think its time to to call Time on that situation, and let the people make the rules, the ones who are ignored and do not exist outside polling time.Lets ask the politicians to vote on what they would like us to do."Can you visualise the result."?
To be perfectly frank politicians are the most insecure RACE on the planet, its no wonder planets insuch a mess.

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