German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin at the chancellery on Oct. 19 in Berlin.
Photo by AFP
BERLIN — He was skinny in his trim, dark suit, an almost lupine figure, nervous and unexpectedly youthful for a president of Russia. Taking the lectern beneath the dome of the restored Reichstag, Vladimir V. Putin soon shifted to German, with a fluency that startled the German lawmakers and a pro-West message that reassured them. The Cold War seemed over.