Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Here's David Remnick, with a pitch-perfect take on Putin during his recent visit to New York. Remnick has a novelist's eye for human mannerisms and his captivating book, Lenin's Tomb reads just like the following passage all the way through. Excerpt from the recent New Yorker:
Unlike his boogie-down-at-the-Kremlin predecessor, however, Putin did not immediately call for a vodka straight up. Putin is the anti-Yeltsin: cool, wary, abstemious. He seemed to regard this smallish dinner of mediacrats hosted by Tom Brokaw as a trying obligation.

For the most part, Putin’s discipline held (he is, after all, a trained career officer of the K.G.B.), but there were times when he turned steely in a theatrical sort of way and, with his cold blue eyes and withering glance, looked rather like Frank Gorshin doing his Richard Widmark imitation. At one point, Putin leaned to his left and was greeted by the megawatt smile of Brokaw’s NBC colleague Katie Couric. She was wearing a black leather dress. Putin seemed to sense relief, charm, fun. He was wrong. “So why didn’t you come back from vacation when the sub was on the bottom of the sea?” Couric asked. Putin sighed darkly, took the slightest of sips from his wine glass, and allowed that, in the end, maybe he should have returned to Moscow sooner, if only for P.R. reasons.


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