One of the criticisms that President Vladimir Putin has received from the opposition is that he has not spent much time with other international leaders since the invasion of Ukraine. This includes phone calls from leaders like the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the German chancellor Olaf Scholz. Despite being his most formidable enemy, Volodimir Zelensky, the Ukrainian president holds almost daily videoconferences with half of the world.
The Kremlin appears to have taken a decision to rectify this situation. It has set up a schedule of meetings, phone conversations and trips for Putin with colleagues from different countries. The Russian President spoke by telephone on Monday with Jair Bolsonaro his Brazilian counterpart to discuss the issue of global food security that has been affected by the conflict in Ukraine. According to the Russian Presidency's press service, the Kremlin promised Brazil fertilizers and strengthened the "strategic partner" between the two nations.
Putin will depart Russia Tuesday, his first departure since he attacked Ukraine. His last foreign trip was in February when he attended opening ceremonies of the Beijing Winter Olympics. He was welcomed by Xi Jinping. According to Dmitri Perskov, a Kremlin spokesperson, the trip will take him to Tajikistan, an ancient ally of Russia. He will meet Emomali Rajmon, his Tajik counterpart. The two countries will discuss bilateral issues as well as the Afghan situation, which is of concern to the Tajiks. Putin will attempt to reassure Rakhmon by stating that Moscow has very good relations with Taliban. This was the first time that a delegation from Russia attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
After passing through Dushanbe (the capital of Tajikistan), Putin will travel to Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, on Wednesday. There he will be greeted by Serdar Berdimujamedov (his young Turkmen counterpart who arrived in Moscow on June 10). Although relations between the two countries have been rather cold in recent years they now seem to be on the cusp of warming up. Moscow seems to be pleased by the strong Turkmen authoritarianism. The son of Gurbanguli Berdimujamedov, the former dictator of Turkmenistan and the current president of Turkmenistan is 40 years old. Putin will attend the summit of countries bordering the Caspian Sea in Ashgabat (Azerbaijan and Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan).
Putin will be receiving Joko Widodo (the Indonesian president), back in Russia. He will arrive from Ukraine. Putin has called for the initiation of talks to end the war. Widodo in Kiev will also meet with Zelensky. By the way, the Indonesian president invited the top Russian leader yesterday to attend the G20 summit to be held on Bali between November 15-16.
Yuri Ushakov (the Russian Presidency's adviser) said yesterday that they had received the invitation and replied positively that they were interested in taking part. When asked if Putin would visit Bali, Ushakov said that there was still time. I hope that the pandemic will allow this event to take place in person. He said that Widodo's invitation was highly valued because Indonesians had been subject to strong pressure from Western countries due to the war in Ukraine.
Last Saturday, Putin met with Alexander Lukashenko (Belarusian president), in Saint Petersburg. He promised to strengthen his country with planes, rockets and nuclear warheads in case of a NATO attack. Although the meeting was supposed to have taken place in Belarus, it was moved to the former Russian imperial city.
It is possible that the Russian president will soon travel to the neighbouring country. He wants to make sure that Lukashenko is loyal and will agree to his idea to create a unitary country. In which case he would need to send troops to fight in Ukraine. With Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Putin has not been to Belarus since the start of the war. However, Lukashenko has been to Russia several times, including to Moscow, Sochi, and lastly to St. Petersburg.