June 19th, 2013
11:16 AM ET

Putin gives English a try

For more Last Look, watch GPS, Sundays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN

The world has known Russian President Putin to be a man who knows what he wants and knows how to get it. He certainly isn’t the shy and retiring type. That's why last week I was surprised to see Putin asking very nicely and gently for the world expo to be held in Russia in 2020, please.

Having sat with him at close quarters, I was stunned by this Putin. He seemed so soft and tame. Perhaps it was because uncharacteristically, he was speaking in English. Now, to be fair, at least he can speak English – and quite well. Very few American or British leaders can speak any language other than English. Remember Newt Gingrich's bilingual apology a few years ago?

Or there’s President Obama trying his hand at Hebrew. Maybe they should all listen to Tony Blair, who admitted that trying to speak French was a bad idea – but then again, he tried it anyway.

Watch the video for the full Last Look.

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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. 100 % ETHIO

    Does/can the language spear the Mind-Set?
    If so, he is closer than ever before. His Christian Religion is also helpful.

    June 19, 2013 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  2. anyl

    Do you plot even any bad thing with Putin Syria?

    June 20, 2013 at 3:20 am | Reply
  3. Joseph McCarthy

    How true this article is. Just how many Americans or Britons for that matter can speak any language other than English? Very few! This explains why we continue to read so many ignorant, pro-government, warmongering posts here! As far as languages go, German is my favorite although I like Russian with all it's difficulties.

    June 20, 2013 at 8:20 am | Reply
    • Patrick

      And I like Spanish, Joseph. It's far easier that the two you mentioned above.

      June 20, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  4. j. von hettlingen

    Putin wasn't anti-American. In December 2010 the prime minister sang Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill" in accented English during a charity in Moscow, in front of old film stars like Gerard Depardieu, Alain Delon, Goldie Hawn, Sharon Stone, Kurt Russell etc. It's on YouTube!

    June 20, 2013 at 10:19 am | Reply
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    June 20, 2013 at 11:43 am | Reply
  6. ihaq

    What a .waste of time. This is all CNN writers can come up with, what knowledge and info, they managed to pass on with a video link that does not work.Lots of ordinary citizens in many countries speak multiple languages.

    June 20, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Reply
  7. Rick

    Putin isn't giving English "A try" he speaks english, he used to be a spy for the KGB

    June 21, 2013 at 1:52 am | Reply
    • Dmitry

      He was not a spy, he was in counter espionage and he was stationed in Germany.

      June 21, 2013 at 11:40 am | Reply
  8. Stamen Metodiev Stoichkov

    Even Vladimir Vladimirovich would be some how surprised if follwing only KGB and other divert people,but so far am aimed to explain and convincve Western friends to avoid any cinder path on the same way may add,that not enough and not deepest khowledge of a suffered Russian people,as the only culprit for the events as they evolve until Geneve II or III would be understood better some day,but for the moment untl Evolution flourish alone, might be better then Revolution,and deadlock seems acceptable having in mind Theran,Yalta,Potsdam and Malta.
    Cardenal Richelieu,September 2013

    September 20, 2013 at 8:16 am | Reply

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