The presidents of Russia and the United States of America were all praises about each other and the Geneva summit but in reality, the discord remains as little concrete progress was made during the meeting.

The two countries met after the Helsinki meeting in 2018; which was between former president Trump and Putin. This summit was entirely different from the Helsinki experience as the Russian president termed Biden as an “experienced statement”.

Biden and Putin praised each other’s strategy to undermine the ongoing strain in the relationship and wanted to settle matters more cordially than in the past.

President Biden gifted Mr. Putin a customized pair of aviator sunglasses along with a crystal sculpture of a bison. It is yet unknown if president Biden received any gift in return or not.

The meeting ended around three hours, which was less time than scheduled.

What was discussed at the summit?

The relationship between the two nations was at rock bottom and was heading towards cold relations again, this summit was necessary to break the ice.  

Many subjects in the agenda were discussed, some received approval, some were left as it is; both sides agreed upon beginning a dialogue regarding nuclear arms control.

An agreement was reached on returning the ambassadors to each other’s capitals, as they were mutually withdrawn in March after America had accused Russia of meddling in the presidential elections of 2020.

Russian president hinted at a possible deal of exchange of prisoners as according to him it is always possible to find mutual grounds.

The two sides approved on various issues such as the fate of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is currently serving a two and a half year of imprisonment sentence in custody. He recently conducted a hunger strike in the prison lasting 24 days. President Biden exclaimed that Russia will have to face “devastating consequences” if Navalny dies in prison but Putin dismissed his concerns altogether.

Navalny had accused Putin of poisoning him through a nerve agent – which the president denied.

This led to Mr. Putin bringing the topic of Black Lives Matter and Capitol riots; tensing the atmosphere once again. Biden dismissed Putin’s remarks regarding Black Lives Matter and stated that the human rights discussion will always be on the table.

The aftermath

Biden and Putin had come to the summit with low expectations, there was not much to achieve as this was stated to be a fresh start between the two nations.

It was a success to engage the two nation’s presidents into detailed discussion about the knottiest issues surrounding them. Both Biden and Putin tested their boundaries when they came to the summit and they left by achieving something as in the post-summit conference, president Putin repeated several times that Russia is a nuclear power and is an important country, it might have a smaller economy than the US but it is still the one which matters.

On the other hand, Mr. Biden stated in the post-summit press conference that he is quite certain that Russia will cooperate with the US on various issues, that’s the reason the president came to Geneva.

A summit which had low expectations due to the strain of bilateral relations between the two states, ended up with the obvious result – the easy and deliverable mutual decisions were reached whereas the bigger matter remains hanging but they were addressed in the meeting; showing the openness of both nations for further talks.