For a man who has run afoul of the United States and Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin sure does get around.
In the past few months, Putin has popped up in far-flung ports from New Delhi to Nicaragua. On state visits, Putin has signed nuclear deals with both Argentina and India, the latter of which has maintained a noteworthy neutrality on Russia's recent exploits in Ukraine. Putin has hung out with the Castros in Cuba, announced a gas pipeline in Ankara, and caused a scene in Beijing when a chivalrous gesture involving China's first lady begot ShawlGate in November. (Putin also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping for the tenth time in less than two years.)
A cursory glance at his travel schedule shows that the Russian premier made nearly 20 official state visits in 2014, a trying diplomatic year for Russia by all accounts. Compare that to just six official visits in 2013.
On Monday, Putin was seen at the Cairo airport giving a kalashnikov to a giddy Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Egyptian president, to mark the first Russian state visit to Egypt since 2005. On Tuesday, as CNN reported, the two men signed a pact "to cooperate on building a nuclear power plant."
“He’s making a show of highlighting how he’s not isolated,” one Russia expert told The Guardian. “It’s also a way of undermining the U.S., since Cairo is piece of America’s imperium."