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News Analysis: Putin Pulls Levers as Russian Patriarch, PM Head Abroad

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

With the Russian patriarch and prime minister both holding big meetings abroad, this weekend presents a chance for President Vladimir Putin to soothe a world still stunned by Moscow's aggression in Ukraine and dismayed by its bombing campaign in Syria.
 
Russian Orthodox Church chief Kirill holds historic talks with Pope Francis at the airport in Havana, Cuba, on February 12, the first such meeting since Christendom split in two more than 1,000 years ago.
 
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will speak at the annual Munich Security Conference on February 12-14 -- the same forum at which Putin ripped into Washington and the West in a 2007 address that set the tone for years of discord.
 
Facing deep economic troubles and persistent Western sanctions, Putin may be looking for ways to alleviate Russia's isolation.
 
But will he use the high-profile meetings of two top allies to build real bridges, or to execute tactical moves in a mounting confrontation with the United States and Europe?
 

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Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

News Analysis: Putin Pulls Levers as Russian Patriarch, PM Head Abroad

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