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Forget football, Vladimir Putin is the real World Cup winner



And the Russian national team, the lowest team went into the tournament, has exceeded all expectations.

The football World Cup has also sharpened Putin's geopolitical profile. At a meeting with the Russian president in Moscow on Wednesday, American security adviser John Bolton praised Putin and told him he was looking forward to "how you handled the World Cup so successfully, among other things".

This is more than just a diplomatic gesture. In terms of optics, the football World Cup seems to close a chapter that began in Putin for Sochi.

  Trump doubts interference in Russian elections ahead of Putin summit

Now Putin leads a moment of international Russophilia, at least by appearance. The games were not affected by terrorism or – knocking on wood – by terrorist. Images of fans celebrating on the streets of Moscow and other Russian cities throw the country in a festive light. And on the geopolitical front, on July 16, the day after the final, the Russian president crowns US President Donald Trump in Helsinki.

  Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev take part in the opening ceremony of the World Cup.
  Artem Dzyuba from Russia celebrates after scoring a goal against Saudi Arabia

The agenda is still relatively general. Asked by CNN on the subject of a summit with Putin, Bolton added that the "full range of issues between the two countries" would be discussed at the summit, including the annexation of Crimea, a matter the Kremlin considers closed. Although hardly acknowledged internationally by the movement

At the summit wisdom when Russia has not changed any of the behavior for which it was sanctioned, Bolton said:

"The fact is that it is for the leaders of These two countries meet, and despite the differences between us, where both President Trump and President Putin can find constructive solutions, there are a number of questions and I would like to hear someone say, "This is a bad idea.

This is not the only important indication of an international goodwill towards Putin, as a group of Republican US Senators are traveling to Russia next week, another high-profile visit taking place against the backdrop of the World Cup.

And the World Cup On 15 July, Putin has yet another opportunity to play the role of statesman: The Russian leader has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to participate in the game, while Netanyahu has not yet responded to the invitation, the President of the Palestinian Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has already confirmed his participation.

  Opinion: World Cup gives Putin no global power

As with the Trump Putin summit, it's hard to say a possible three-way meeting between Putin, Abbas and Netanyahu will be long on symbolism and little content Russia remains under sanctions, and US-Russian relations are still extremely frosty. But in terms of photo opportunities, the World Cup provided an excellent backdrop.

In the US-Russian relations, the interference of the Russian elections should remain in the foreground. The Kremlin has a mirror image view – Putin accuses the West of meddling in Russian domestic politics and denies interfering in foreign elections – and it is hard to imagine Washington and Moscow finding a common ground.

Dmitri Trenin, director of the Moscow Carnegie Center and one of the leading observers of US-Russian relations, suggested that the two countries at least offer a symbolic gesture to give the summit a little more legitimacy.

"To Thwart Probable Criticism At the upcoming US-Russia summit, it would make sense for the Kremlin and the GH to publicly declare that interference with vote counting mechanisms in both countries is inadmissible," he wrote on Twitter. "Really, interference makes no sense."


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