That Time Ronald Reagan Met Vladimir Putin

5/31/1988 President Reagan greets a young boy while touring Red Square during the Moscow Summit in the USSR
5/31/1988 President Reagan greets a young boy while touring Red Square during the Moscow Summit in the USSR

In May of 1988, President Reagan traveled to Moscow for a  summit with Mikhail Gorbachev. They rolled out the proverbial red carpet for the U.S. president and repainted buildings and repaved streets.

President Reagan and the first lady saw the best of Moscow. President Reagan fell asleep at the Bolshoi ballet, while the first lady toured Leningrad and spoke to university students.

The most interesting part of the trip, though, was unscheduled and was initially unremarkable. Gorbachev was introducing the president to tourists. When Pete Souza, the photographer, remarked to secret service that he was surprised by the pointed questions, the agent told him that they were all KGB families. Looks like he was right.

In the photo above, Reagan is talking to a young boy. The man standing behind the kid with a camera around his neck? Vladimir Putin.

Turns out that Putin, a KGB agent, was undercover as a tourist. Can’t have the American president meeting random citizens in 1988 Russia.

Russian authorities, however, deny that the camera-wearing tourist is Putin.




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  1. True Or False

    1. In 1981 the Apple desktop computer conveniently offered the power of an old room-filling mainframe computer.

    2. Reaganomics called for lowering taxes, deregulating business, and cutting federal support for labor unions.

    3. Reagan’s arms build-up was challenged by the Nuclear Freeze movement and most Republicans.

    4. The AIDS crisis was a first considered a gay disease and evangelicals called it “gay cancer.”

    5. Reagan left office with the highest approval rating of any president sincethe beginning of modern polling in the 1930s.

    6. Globalization is a web of technological, economic, and military advances that bind people together.

    7. After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, American forces bombed Iraq in an attempt to capture or kill Osama bin Laden.

    8. In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama’s campaign was characterized partially by his ethnicity which seemed to represent the globalized, diverse makeup of the world.

  2. Why was he so special? What were the three most important changes brought by Reagan?

  3. when marcos was exiled in the philippines,former president ronald reagan told marcos he should live in the U.S,why would he support him if at that time many filipinos hated marcos while the philippines and the america were allies?

  4. Okkay iwanted to use kgb the other niqht. Does it charqe if you have unlimeted txt messaging?

  5. i have a debate and need to make a list of points to make about hwy Reagan should be considered one of the greatest presidents. I am facing off against someone representing Polk. Could you please help me come up with good points about Reagan and also negative things about Polk? Thank you!

  6. A lot of the actors who stayed back in Hollywood instead of enlisting and going to fight during World War II were gay

  7. What are the similarities and the differences between the presidency of Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan?

  8. Even tho Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan were born on different years they were both presidents of similiar belief and policies.

    Do u think the policies and beliefs of Richard Nixon and Ronald Regan were correct?

  9. Do you think President Reagan’s actions proved he was committed to reducing the role of government in the lives of Americans? Explain.

    Can you please help me with this question? It’s my last question for Social Studies for THE YEAR?

  10. We were learning about President Reagan and my teacher was making comments like, “I can’t see why everyone seemed to love him” and “he is not as important as everyone says” but in a serious and annoyed tone. What could President Reagan have done to make my teacher hate him so much. Btw my teachers 35-38ish


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