Ms Merkel is familiar with Mr Putin’s psychological operations. In 2007, he played on her well-known fear of dogs by allowing his black Labrador, Koni, into a meeting with her in his summer residence in Sochi. Photos show her tight-lipped as the Labrador buried its head in her lap.
Berlin officials say the chancellor does not allow Mr Putin to get to her through such displays or, for example, by turning up hours late for a meeting, as he did the night before the summit in Milan. Instead, she turns it to her advantage, treating the Kremlin chief’s bad manners as a sign of weakness.
From the FT, there is more here, interesting throughout. File under still an important relationship.