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 John Tefft, US rep to Putin's WWII celebration?

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PostSubject: John Tefft, US rep to Putin's WWII celebration?   Sun May 10, 2015 1:11 pm

Russia recalls end of WWII

Many leaders of wartime allied nations, including the U.S., skipped the anniversary event.


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A woman carries the Russian flag during celebrations Saturday in Moscow marking the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany. Many world leaders avoided the event. ALEXANDER AKSAKOV / Getty Images
Gallery: Russia recalls end of WWII



Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post
Posted: Sunday, May 10, 2015, 1:09 AM
MOSCOW - Russia's vast celebrations Saturday to mark the 70th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany had nearly everything: 16,000 goose-stepping soldiers, medal-bedecked veterans, and families carrying photographs of those who died long ago.
But one group was conspicuously absent from the memorial of the Soviet Union's joint victory with West: the leaders of those wartime allied nations. A year into a conflict in Ukraine that the West says is fueled by the Kremlin, the tribunes in Red Square on Saturday were stocked with officials from nations that had little to do with the Soviet Union's painful wartime sacrifices.
A decade ago, President George W. Bush sat next to Russian President Vladimir Putin on stands in front of Lenin's Tomb to observe the 60th anniversary. A decade before that, President Bill Clinton also came to Moscow in an emotional post-Cold War visit. But on Saturday, the most prominent visitor's seat went to Chinese President Xi Jinping, with whom Putin has tried to build bridges as relations with the West have soured because of the war in Ukraine.
The United States was represented by Ambassador John Tefft, a low-key presence. Britain sent a grandson of Winston Churchill. China and India were the only major nations to send their heads of state, alongside about two dozen other leaders including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
In brief remarks on Red Square, Putin bridged commemoration of the past with anger over the present.
"We are grateful to the people of the United Kingdom and France, and the United States of America for their contribution to this victory," Putin said, speaking in front of a screen that covered Lenin's tomb, where the remains of the founder of the Soviet Union are on display.
"But during the last decade, the basic fundamental principles of international cooperation were increasingly ignored," he said. "We see the use of force. This kind of mentality undermines global stability."





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