Friday, July 10, 2009

Obama and Medvedev: Army Buds from Waaay Back?

Before we wrap this historic week when President Obama made his first visit to Russia as chief executive, let's look at several special items that appeared in the media on both sides of the Big Pond. First, this enthusiastically Photoshopped picture of Presidents Obama and Medvedev was on the front of this week's Arguments and Facts, a Russian tabloid.

Could it be true - as the photo indicates - that our presidents have been best friends forever? The caption notes, We are allies in a fight against a common enemy. Once against Fascism and now against world crises.

Mrs Obama was busy too
. In a city where folks seem more inclined to judge the first lady on her mothering skills - and the state-fair splendor of her peppers - oratory might be superfluous, noted Robin Givhan in the Washington Post.

(Photo by Epsilon via Getty Images: Published in the Washington Post) Mrs Obama visited an orphanage and a hospital and - let the record show - learned to say спасибо (spa-SEE-bo) or thank you, in Russian. Note that the First Lady was presented a ma-TROSH-ka doll, a set of wooden nesting dolls, the most popular souvenir of Russia. Looking at the size of that doll, I'd guess it holds at least ten dolls. This matroshka is likely the First Daughters' favorite gift from their trip to Russia!


Jeanette said...

I'm noticing the look on the faces of the nurses. It's likely this is the closest any of them have ever been to a black person. They aren't looking into the camera...are they scared? Nervous? Some of my Russian friends say that the dark skin makes them "disgusted." Yes, we all fear what we don't understand or have never experienced.

Eileen said...

Hey Jeanette, how perceptive to notice the body language w/ the camera. In my experience, that's just the Russian way around a camera. Part of it might be the *no smile, neutral face* required for official photos (on documents and such). Funny because before and after a photo folks can be smiling and looking pleasant. But pull out the camera and we become stone-faced. I make funny noises (barking, clucking like a chicken) to get people to *cooperate.*

So here in the photos, I think it's mostly anxiety of being photographed... I imagine you've had quite a bit of photo ops and experiences yourself when you've come over. =)

Oh, have you noticed that it's mostly in recent years that US folks are smiling in photos? I've noticed in shots from years back, that even *we* were looking ultra calm and maybe even detached. Now we're more into looking happy and displaying our dental work. IMHO. =)