Monday, September 21, 2009

You begin to see the attraction of Putin, порядочный человек...

One of my old Russian friends told me that the only reason she believed that Putin has had such uncontested authority over the past decade has been that Russians perceive him as the порядочный человек (orderly fellow) extraordinaire, after a decade of беспорядочность (disorderliness). You begin to see her point...
Reluctant to discuss the affair with Monica Lewinsky that led to his impeachment, Clinton once lamented that it occurred when he felt sorry for himself and that he "just cracked" under the pressure of personal and political setback.
He also relayed how Boris Yeltsin's late-night drinking during a visit to Washington in 1995 nearly created an international incident. The Russian president was staying at Blair House, the government guest quarters. Late at night, Clinton told Branch, Secret Service agents found Yeltsin clad only in his underwear, standing alone on Pennsylvania Avenue and trying to hail a cab. He wanted a pizza, he told them, his words slurring.
The next night, Yeltsin eluded security forces again when he climbed down back stairs to the Blair House basement. A building guard took Yeltsin for a drunken intruder until Russian and U.S. agents arrived on the scene and rescued him.
(From interviews with Clinton in a book by Taylor Branch.)

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