INDIAN PUNCH LINE – Earlier today when President Vladimir Putin had a stopover in Samarkand, en route to Moscow from the G-20 summit in Hangzhou, to pay homage to the departed Uzbek leader and to commiserate privately with Karimov’s widow and daughter, it had a profound backdrop that is not visible to outsiders. (TASS)
Of course, it was also a highly symbolic gesture. (Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had represented Russia at Karimov’s funeral at Samarkand.) Somehow, Washington still hasn’t understood after a quarter century of acquaintance with Inner Asia that in the steppes, relationships are never to be treated as brusque, transactional or episodic.
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