1988: Reagan, Right; Putin, Left

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 16, 2009 2:34 PM CDT
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – It’s 1988. President Ronald Reagan is making a visit to the Soviet Union, where he tours Moscow’s Red Square alongside Mikhail Gorbachev. He stops and takes questions from a group of tourists about human rights in the United States. Except they’re not tourists, Radio Free Europe reports. They’re KGB agents and their families. And one of them is Col. Vladimir Putin.

The photo is courtesy of Pete Souza, photographer for Reagan and now President Obama, Foreign Policy adds. “I can’t believe these tourists in the Soviet Union are asking these pointed questions,” Souza said to a Secret Service agent at the time. “Oh, these are all KGB families,” the agent replied. At least that explains why now-Prime Minister Putin looks like a “dorky tourist.”