Sunday, May 30, 2010

Diplomatic trick of the day

Marbury has spotted an interesting snippet in the latest Prospect magazine:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is afraid of dogs. As Russian president, Vladimir Putin tried to exploit this by having Koni, his black Labrador, sit in on their meetings.
It's true. Merkel was bitten by a dog as a child and has been very uneasy around them ever since. Not only would Putin bring his Labrador to meetings with the German Chancellor, but he also presented her with a puppy in 2006. Classy.

I can't help thinking that Tony Blair might have missed a trick by not making David Blunkett (with his lovely, slobbery friend Lucy) Foreign Secretary.

Koni, who is descended from a dog once owned by Brezhnev, has been at her master's side regularly since 2000. The only Russian employee allowed to bark orders at Putin, he once said of her: "I try to consult with my dog, who gives me good advice."

He also once told George W Bush that his dog is "bigger, tougher, stronger, faster and meaner" than Bush's terrier, Barney. Surprised that Bush didn't get Cheney to take out Koni with a twelve-bore.

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