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Vladimir Putin will always have Helsinki.
Three years ago this July, former President Donald Trump stood side by side with the Russian autocrat at a press conference in Finland’s capital and blithely dismissed assessments from his own intelligence agencies, defense officials and American lawmakers about Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
“President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be,” Trump said on July 16, 2018, echoing Putin’s denials after the two men had been behind closed doors for nearly two hours.
When President Joe Biden meets with Putin on Wednesday for a one-day summit in Geneva, Switzerland, the West’s favorite geopolitical bogeyman is not likely to get the easy pass he got from Trump, according to U.S. and Russian foreign affairs experts.
Geneva:Joe Biden to hold solo news conference after meeting with Vladimir Putin
“I don’t expect (the) kind of bromance that Trump aspired to,” said Eugene Rumer, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington think tank. “I have modest expectations about what this immediate meeting can deliver in practical terms.”
The long list of U.S. grievances with Russia
Biden has made no secret of his disdain for Putin, who is Russia’s longest-serving leader since Joseph Stalin. Stalin led the Soviet Union from 1924 to 1953. Putin has been in office as prime minister or president for a period spanning two decades.