Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ronald Reagan meets "Vladimir the Plumber"

During the cold war, the Russian KGB was a brutal and cunning spy agency, equal to the CIA in every respect including the number of letters in its name.

Young Vladimir Putin rose through the ranks to become Director of the KGB and eventually President of Russia. His KGB records remain classified and might have included blackwork operations such as waterboarding, torture and assassinations.

However, his strangest assignment was when he disguised himself as "Vladimir the Plumber" a typical tourist on vacation in Moscow. The plot was hatched at the highest levels of the Soviet Hierarchy. Mikhail Gorbachev was in difficult Cold War negotiations with Ronald Reagan that day at the Kremlin. Gorbachev needed to confuse Reagan, to get his guard down, so he could get the advantage in their mammoth global chess game.

At a crucial hour, as the negotiations were winding down, Gorbachev invited Reagan to take a walk with him in Red Square. Vladimir Putin was in position with his young son, Mini-me Putin. Mikhail Gorbachev "just happened" to lead President Reagan directly towards the Putins. Gorbachev told Reagan they were typical Russian tourists on vacation. Before Reagan could say a word, Vladimir Putin launched a series of questions at Reagan about "Socialism in the US", "raising the taxes of hard working citizens" and "the difficulty of starting his own plumbing business". After ten minutes Reagan was totally confused and forgot what Gorbachev and he had discussed during their negotiating sessions.

The photo below was never released to the public. However, for several years after the event, all of the Soviet Union was discussing "Vladamir the Plumber" and how he had debated the US President and defeated him.

Photo by Pete Souza