Much is still unknown about what was discussed at the Biden-Putin summit. However, a tangible result can be presented: the ambassadors of the United States and Russia, as expected, will return to Moscow and Washington.
In many preliminary analyses Before the Geneva summit, it was said that the mere fact that the summit would end was a win for Putin.
Obviously, Putin saw it that way, too. The summit was a pleasant opportunity for Putin to emerge as the leader of one of the world’s two superpowers.
The Russian leader can now leave behind an era that was seen by many of his countrymen as humiliating Russia. For several decades, the former superpower was considered a second-ranking regional power. Russia had little say in international affairs and was sidelined from the global fine rooms.
Now the presidents of Russia and the United States sat face to face, seemingly equal parties. Almost as in the old days, when summits between the United States and the Soviet Union decided the fate of the world, the leaders of the two largest nuclear powers discussed arms control, balance of power and regional conflicts.
Then it doesn’t matter to Putin what Biden calls: a “killer” or “a smart and worthy opponent.” Biden had not brought with him a dossier containing complaints about Russia’s aggressive behavior in his neighbourhood, against Russian cyberattacks, the attempted assassination of Alexei Navalny, and undemocratic development at home.
In his press conference Putin dismissed every critical question in the way he now uses it: “whataboutism,” meaning that one responds to criticism by asserting that the other drinks equally good cabbage and is thus hypocritical.
Putin claimed that most cyberattacks occur in the United States, that it is the United States that has described the Russian media as “foreign agents, that all the deterioration in Russian-American relations is the fault of the United States, and that political opposition figures are being prosecuted in the United States” mentioning those who They stormed the Capitol on January 6th.)
Putin should not have resorted to these arguments. None of the American criticism affected Putin, nor his behavior nor his position in power. On the contrary, Putin is secure for the foreseeable future. The opposition is illegitimate and largely suppressed, and a change to the constitution allows him to be president until 2036.