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Putin the Killer: What Joe Biden’s pronouncement means in U.S.-Russian diplomatic history

23 minutes
Putin the Killer: What Joe Biden’s pronouncement means in U.S.-Russian diplomatic history

In an interview published on March 17, U.S. President Joe Biden said he considers Vladimir Putin to be a “killer,” prompting the Russian president to respond a day later with a schoolyard retort that translates loosely to the phrase: “Look who’s talking!” In what sounded more like a threat than a salutation, Putin also wished his American counterpart good health.

Pretty strong language for the leaders of the two greatest nuclear powers on Earth! But how does this rhetoric compare to recent and Cold War history? Is this the worst thing an American president has ever said publicly about a Russian leader? If so, does that mean the relationship between Moscow and Washington has never been worse? How does it compare to the days when the United States and the Soviet Union used to point thousands of nukes at each other? 

For answers, Meduza turned to Sergey Radchenko, a professor of international relations at Cardiff University and an expert in Soviet and Chinese foreign policies, atomic diplomacy, and the history of Cold War crises. Dr. Radchenko argues that things have certainly been worse between Russians and Americans, but politicians on both sides seem to have lost something that sustained smoother relations in those more troubled times.

“The Naked Pravda” comes out on Saturdays (or sometimes Fridays). Catch every new episode by subscribing at Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or other platforms. If you have a question or comment about the show, please write to Kevin Rothrock at [email protected] with the subject line: “The Naked Pravda.”

Producer, sound editing, and mixing — Kevin Rothrock

Send any questions or comments to [email protected]

Executive producer — Alexandr Sadikov

Music — Victor Davydov

Additional music from Pixabay

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