When Russian President Vladimir Putin touched down in Vienna with a 30-minute delay on Tuesday, the military guard of honor stood ready, waiting in the blistering heat in the courtyard of Vienna’s imperial palace.
The red carpet was rolled out, framed with enormous Russian and Austrian flags and little box trees neatly lining the way.
After being greeted at the airport by Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl and former Ambassador to Russia Margot Klestil-Löffler, the Russian leader finally arrived at Vienna’s Hofburg. The military parade played the national anthems and the Russian and Austrian presidents walked along the carpet together and then up the stairs to the President’s office.
The moment President Putin entered the room, he was greeted by a frenzy of flashing cameras….