Turns out someone still has an axe or two to grind:
Vladimir Putin has snubbed both the Prince of Wales and the US vice-president, Joe Biden, by refusing to allow them to attend a parade in Red Square marking the 65th anniversary of the end of the second world war, the Guardian has learned.
Russia invited Gordon Brown and other heads of state to attend the Kremlin’s celebrations on Sunday – the biggest ever. But with the prime minister unable to attend because of the general election, the Foreign Office suggested Prince Charles instead.
Last week, however, the prince was quietly stood down after Putin made it clear that he did not want him there – apparently in a sign of his continuing annoyance with the UK over its failure to extradite Boris Berezovsky, the Kremlin critic and former oligarch, to Russia.
Putin, Russia’s prime minister, also snubbed Biden, who had planned to go to Moscow and has been left kicking his heels in Brussels. Biden is close to Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s president. During the 2008 Russian-Georgia war Putin famously threatened Saakashvili, pledging to “hang him by the balls”.
If it wasn’t abundantly clear before, it should be by now that Russia in general, and Putin in particular is in no particular mode to deal with the West in any particular matter other than disdain and from a distance. Emboldened by a series of events that have fallen Russia’s way, beginning with the war with Georgia, the death of the Orange revolution and installation of a pro-Russian government and most recently, allegations of Russian involvement in Kyrgyzstan, it is clear Putin believes he can (and will) deal form a position of superiority in matters with the West and if some insult can be thrown in for the bargain (because it plays well with the hard-core folks at home), then all the better.