Memories of a “Malodorous” Room

Lugar-Obama.jpgBarack Obama may remember a few things about Russian bureaucracy from his 2005 trip. From the Economist:

DETAINING the next president of the United States for three hours in what an eyewitness called a “malodorous” small room at an airport in the provincial Russian city of Perm looks, in retrospect, to have been a pretty bad idea. No matter that the Kremlin muttered an apology for delaying Barack Obama, along with his mentor on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, in August 2005. The hold-up was blamed on a muddle over paperwork—although some Russia-watchers suspected it was a calculated Kremlin snub to the Republican Mr Lugar. Mr Obama now plays down the episode, but his first-hand experience of the Russian bureaucracy’s capacity for at best capricious incompetence and at worst vindictiveness could yet prove telling.

Not so fast … the article goes on to argue that Obama’s policy toward Russia and Eastern Europe will likely be shaped by emerging events, not personalities. Photo: Senators Richard Lugar and Barack Obama happy to get some fresh air during a 2005 trip to Russia. (source)