When Putin met Reagan?

Radio Free Europe's Brian Whitmore shares this photo, which many are claiming depicts an encounter between now Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (the blonde man on the left with the cameras) and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Moscow's Red Square. In case you're wondering why the then-KGB Colonel would be dressed like a dorky tourist, the official White House photographer recalls the encounter to NPR:

Souza recounts a story from a trip to Russia with Reagan. He shot photos of Reagan as the president toured Moscow's Red Square with then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev introduced Reagan to various tourists, who asked the American president pointed questions about subjects such as human rights in the United States. Souza says he remembers turning to one of the Secret Service agents standing nearby. "I can't believe these tourists in the Soviet Union are asking these pointed questions." The agent replied, "Oh, these are all KGB families."

Update: Because this post is getting a lot of attention, I feel I should clarify that I didn't mean to imply that the man in the photo definitely is Putin. I thought that phrasing the title as a question as well as the phrase "many are claiming" would make it clear that I was just sharing some interesting Internet speculation, but I should probably have been more explicit. Sorry if anyone was confused. 


Morning Brief: Zardari folds

Top Story

As a massive convoy of protesters led by ousted opposition leader Nawaz Sharif rolled toward Islamabad, President Asif Ali Zardari bowed to political pressure and agreed to reinstate Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudry. The independent-minded Chaudry's removal was a key event in the downfall of former leader Pervez Musharraf, but his reinstatement had been blocked by Zardari despite campaign pledges to reinstate him.

Sharif has now called off the protest and planned sit-in. Zardari had earlier tried to have Sharif placed under house arrest in Lahore, but he and his supporter managed to break free and reach the center of town with little police resistance. The security breakdown was a major blow to Zardari's authority.

“This is a prelude to a revolution,” the victorious Sharif told reporters.

Middle East

Former President Mohammed Khatami withdrew from Iran's presidential election. It is not yet clear which opposition candidate he will endorse.

Benjamin Netanyahu signed a coalition agreement with the far-right party Yisrael Beitenu making it likely that controversial politician Avigdor Lieberman will become foreign minister.

Lebanon has opened its first ever embassy in Syria.


Madagascar's opposition leader has asked security forces to arrest the country's president. A coup may now be underway.

President Omar al Bashir has ordered international groups to stop delivering aid in Sudan.

Pope Benedict XVI will embark this week on his first trip to Africa, where church attendance is booming. 


Former left-wing guerilla party FMLN won El Salvador's presidential election. 

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez ordered his navy to take over seaports in petroleum exporting regions.

U.S. Treasury investigators are trying to determine if more bailout funds would help struggling General motors.


North Korea has been opening and closing its southern border, seemingly at random.

Eleven were killed by a suicide bomber in Southern Afghanistan.

Taiwan is reducing the size of its military in response to better relations with mainland China.


European markets continued to rise after a positive earnings report from British bank Barclays.

Police are holding nine IRA dissidents in connection with this month's attacks in Northern Ireland.

Serbia is seeking an emergency IMF loan.