Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Putin, the Lord of the Ring | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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– In this June 25, 2005, file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a diamond-encrusted 2005 Super Bowl ring belonging to New England Patriots NFL football team owner Robert Kraft. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

Robert Kraft’s Super Bowl ring has recently become the most famous ring in the world of politics, after the US billionaire accused Vladimir Putin of pocketing it. Although he dropped his accusation later, saying that he was only pulling a prank on the Russian president, Kraft actually provoked the Kremlin and sent Putin’s spokesperson, Mr. Dmitry Peskov, scrambling to preserve his president’s dignity. Peskov accused Kraft of lying, and said he was standing close to Kraft when he offered Putin the diamond-encrusted ring, which is now in the gifts section at the president’s palace in Moscow.

The Russian government denies allegations of Putin pocketing Robert Kraft’s ring during a trip to Moscow in 2005, Peskov told CNN.

According to the New York Times, Kraft recently addressed a gathering at a dinner party by telling them that the Russian president had stolen his USD 25,000 ring, and that he wanted it back.

Kraft was awarded the ring after the American football team he owns, the New England Patriots, won the Super Bowl. It is impossible for such an accusation to be true. Rather, it must be a bad and annoying joke. Otherwise, Peskov would not have to argue with Kraft and strenuously defend his president.

Putin heads a rich, powerful and huge country that is known for its nuclear, agricultural, industrial and historical capabilities. Russia has forced seven countries, which are supposedly superpowers, to adopt his rhetoric and tone regarding the Syrian crisis. Even Barack Obama, the US president, could do nothing other than than knit his brows and look sternly at Putin.

Perhaps, this funny and cunning businessman was wooing President Putin, or maybe—and this is quite possible given Obama’s helplessness—Kraft wanted to support Obama by pressuring Putin and blackening his public image. Perhaps, he wanted this strange ring back so that Obama could recover the powers hidden in the diamonds.

By doing so, Kraft resembles Frodo Baggins, the protagonist of The Lord of the Rings, who makes away with a powerful ring so it does not fall into the hands of an evil lord. Will the US recover its power, vision and determination if Kraft recovers his ring?

What I am sure of is that the American ring is locked up in the Kremlin at the present.