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German-Russian Consultations: Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schröder (April 9, 2002)
Since 1998, the governments of Germany and Russia have held annual consultations to further strengthen and deepen relations between their two countries. The meetings are chaired by the Russian president and the German chancellor, and key ministers from both countries participate. The main topics of the 2002 government consultations in Weimar were: Russian debts dating back to Soviet times (whose final value had to be determined), art looted during the Second World War, and Russia’s relationship to NATO. During the consultations, President Vladimir Putin (left) and Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder even found time for a joint appearance on the ARD talkshow "Boulevard Bio." During the show, both emphasized their fondness for “male bonding." Putin had worked as a secret agent in Dresden from 1985-1990 and thus speaks fluent German. This made communication with Schröder considerably easier. Photo: Bernd Kühler.