After years of reporting uncertainties and hesitations from Russia’s foreign policy, finally the Portuguese press picks up on a story which catches the public’s attention: the fact that President Vladimir Putin, slowly but constantly, steps into the front line in the world of international diplomacy, giving back to Russia the place it deserves at a major player on the international scene. “Russia made a triumphal entry into the diplomatic scene to try to end the violence in the Middle East”, says the quality daily “Publico”. Great emphasis is given in Portugal to the fact that while President Putin was receiving Yasser Arafat, he managed to contact Ehud Barak by telephone and finally passed the phone to the Palestinian leader for the two men to talk. “Putin puts Barak speaking to Arafat” is the triumphal headline to this story. This is no coincidence. Portugal sees Russia as having taken a “pause” from its international responsibilities in recent years but now that Vladimir Putin is firmly in control, and is sought after by international leaders as “the man to see” (see Tony Blair’s five visits in eight months), things are changing and with President Putin, Russia is seen as assuming again its natural place as a nation which has much to offer the world, as was always the case. One could even venture that with the USA caught up with their disastrous election process, the trend will be for that country to become more and more introspective, concentrating on their own considerably large internal market. Nothing happens by chance and maybe this chaotic situation in the world policeman’s back yard is the first sign of the end of the road. Every Empire has a cycle. With Russia’s house put in order, a new dynamic force is evident. The Portuguese, more similar to Slavs in many more aspects than one might imagine, are attentive to this fact and instead of criticising, place the news in the headlines. The message is “Russia is Back”. This time the news is not accompanied with a climate of fear, but with a single message:“Welcome!”

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, Pravda.Ru, Lisbon.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team