President Bush and Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin put on their own show of bonhomie at Monday's grand military parade on Red Square, hiding political strains as they smiled and chatted like old friends.
The body language between Bush and Putin was clearly warm. When Bush and his wife, Laura, were met at Red Square by Putin and his wife, Lyudmila, the two leaders made a show of lowering their umbrellas for photographers.
This was just after Putin gave a much more restrained greeting to Ukraine's President &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/cis/2001/04/27/4354.html ' target=_blank>Viktor Yushchenko, whose face is scarred by dioxin poisoning he blames on political enemies.
Putin's very public support for Yushchenko's opponent in elections late last year was widely seen as a public relations disaster for the Kremlin, particularly from the West.
Seated together in the center of the reviewing stand at Red Square, the red brick walls of the Kremlin towering behind them, Putin touched Bush's arm and they chatted amiably as elaborate ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe proceeded. It is the first time a U.S. president has attended a Russian military parade in the cobble-stoned Red Square on such a grand scale, this one devoted to World War II and minus the massive display of weaponry in parades there during Soviet days, tells Reuters.
According to Xinhuanet, A salute was fired and the national anthem of the Russian Federation was played before the parade started by drummers and teams carrying the national flag, the banner of victory and the banner of &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/18/88/350/13941_iskander.html ' target=_blank>Russian armed forces.
About 7,000 soldiers in modern and WWII-era uniforms and with WWII-era weapons marched in tight formation, the slap of their boots echoing across the cobblestones of the Red Square. More than 2,500 veterans passed Red Square in 130 trucks, all replicas of the wartime Zis-5 model.
A host of world leaders, including Chinese President Hu Jintao,US President George W. Bush, French President Jacques Chirac, joined Putin and war veterans near the Lenin Mausoleum for the military parade that also featured Mig-29 and Su-27 fighter jets and Su-25 ground attack jets flying past over Red Square.