Outgoing US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have a petty argument. On December 29, 2016, Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats for their alleged involvement to rig US elections. And now, Putin took a jab at the US. Putin said that his country will not “descend to the level of ‘kitchen diplomacy.'” They will not expel US diplomats in retaliation. Instead, Putin invited the children of US diplomats to their own holiday celebrations. He also greeted US President Obama and his family happy new year.
“Kitchen Diplomacy” Explained
Putin’s statement about “kitchen diplomacy” makes no sense to those unfamiliar with Russian history. But, Putin meant that Obama is no better than female kitchen servants who suddenly gained control of US governance. Putin’s statement also accused Obama of lacking basic knowledge of foreign policy.
In late 19th Century, the Russian Tsar passed “the law on kitchen servants’ children,” allowing higher education for the lower classes. Additionally, after the Bolshevik Revolution, Vladimir Lenin stated that “every female kitchen servant must learn how to run the state.” The reaction of the Russian political class was indignation. According to them, the sudden decisions of Obama’s outgoing administration are petty. The decision to expel their diplomats also disrupts the future relations between the two countries.
Russian Diplomats Fire Back at Obama
Russian politicians criticized Obama openly. Some said Obama is trying to annoy Russia “out of impotence.” This was how Vladimir Dzhabarov of the International Committee of Parliament put it. Also, Konstantin Kosachev, head of the International Committee of the Russian Upper House of Parliament, called Obama a “political corpse,” the New York Observer noted. “Forgive me for being harsh, but I just cannot find other words: this is the agony of not the lame ducks, but of political corpses,” Kosachev said.
Meanwhile, the Russian diplomats have arrived home, NBC News confirmed. They only had day to fix all their accommodations and settle all accounts in the US. This was stressful and not in line with US “family values,” as Russian UN representative Vitaly Churkin said. Obama’s sanctions include the expulsion of the diplomats. Also, he included sanctions on two suspected hackers and three Russian companies that allegedly supported the hacking.
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