On June 18, 2001, I attended Vladimir V. Putin’s first meeting with the American news media. We were seated at a large round table in the wood-paneled Kremlin Library. It was still early in Mr. Putin’s presidency, and we weren’t sure what to expect of this ex-K.G.B. spy fresh off the famous summit meeting where President George W. Bush had gotten “a sense of his soul” and pronounced him “trustworthy.” After we were kept waiting for what felt like hours, Mr. Putin finally arrived a little after 8 p.m., sat down and took questions until nearly midnight.
When it was my turn, I asked about the brutal war against separatists in the southern province of Chechnya.… Seguir leyendo »