The hands of politicians have often become a sign of global change. If opponents irreconcilable in the past shake hands, this gives hope for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. And sour smiles at a protocol shoot, even at the time of exchanging greetings, can mean more than a thousand words for an attentive observer.
The leaders of the "anti-Hitler coalition" Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Harry Truman shake hands in Potsdam in July 1945. Soon after, the former allies will turn into rivals. The Cold War will begin after the famous speech by the British Prime Minister at Fulton in March 1946.
The first meeting of American President John Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna at the height of the Cold War in June 1961. The goal of the talks was to discuss the Berlin crisis and ban nuclear weapons tests. Although both sides were generally satisfied with the results of the meeting, a year after it there was a Caribbean crisis.
Richard Nixon - the first president of the United States, who visited China formed in 1949. The American leader was considered one of the most ardent opponents of communism, but in October 1970, in an interview with the Times, he said that a trip to the Middle Kingdom was his big dream. A lot of books are devoted to the meeting of the two leaders, and even there was an opera "Nixon in China".
South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and his wife, together with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il, perform the song “We hope for reunion.” Zhong pursued a policy aimed at softening relations with his northern neighbor. Following the meeting in June 2000, an agreement was reached on reconciliation and economic cooperation between Pyongyang and Seoul.
On November 19, 1985, in Geneva, the first meeting of the head of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev with US President Ronald Reagan took place. By the time the relationship of the two powers were in extremely poor condition. The American leader called the Soviet Union an "evil empire." However, the negotiations of Reagan and Gorbachev marked the beginning of a new stage in the dialogue between Moscow and Washington. In fact, it was from that moment that the countdown of the Cold War era began.
On September 13, 1993, US President Bill Clinton received in the White House Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Some American journalists wrote that with this gesture Clinton "reminds of Jesus Christ." After exhausting negotiations, the parties signed the so-called “Oslo Agreement”, under the terms of which the Palestinians recognized Israel’s right to exist, and that in turn assumed obligations to facilitate the gradual establishment of the State of Palestine. The first step towards this was the formation of the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip and in the West Bank.
The last white South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk with the first black head of state Nelson Mandela in 1992. De Klerk set out to attract Africans to governing the country and put an end to racial segregation in South Africa. In 1990, he freed Nelson Mandela from prison and legalized the country's oldest political organization, the African National Congress.
US President Barack Obama first met with Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez in 2009.The previous head of the White House - George W. Bush - the Venezuelan president did not particularly complain. As the American media wrote, "Chavez firmly held first place in the world among those who are not indifferent to the American leader." So, he called Bush "the devil", "drunkard", "terrorist", "imperialist", "coward", "ass", "liar" and "sick man who got into politics thanks to daddy."
In September 2008, irreconcilable political opponents — the permanent president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, and the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai — sign an agreement to begin negotiations on the formation of a government of national unity. Tsvangirai considered himself the winner of the first round of the 2008 presidential election. The oppositionist did not participate in the second round of the persecuted authorities, which ensured another re-election to Robert Mugabe, who has been ruling the country for 28 years. As local media reported, before these negotiations, the parties did not communicate for about ten years.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat down at the negotiating table with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in 2009.
The Handshake of Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain and First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness in June 2012 was called a symbol of reconciliation of the two parties. In his youth, McGuinness was a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) - a radical group that fought for the liberation of Ireland from British rule. One of the victims of the IRA militants was the uncle of Elizabeth's wife - Prince Philip - Louis Mountbatten (he and his grandson were blown up in 1979).
Before the start of negotiations in Minsk in August 2014, the presidents of Russia and Ukraine shook hands. This is the second meeting of the leaders of the two countries. Because of the conflict in the east of Ukraine, relations between Moscow and Kiev are experiencing the most difficult period in history. With another handshake, the heads of Russia and Ukraine greeted each other in February 2015 at the next round of talks in the capital of Belarus. The meeting of the "Norman Four", in which, in addition to Putin and Poroshenko, was attended by the leaders of Germany and France, lasted more than 16 hours. As a result, the “Minsk agreements” were reached.
“The president works with documents, and his handshake is strong,” is the phrase of Boris Yeltsin’s press secretary Sergey Yastrzhembsky immediately became what is now called the word “meme”.Not long ago, a spokesman for another Russian leader, Dmitry Peskov, beat this quote, saying that Vladimir Putin’s handshake is so strong that he “wounds his hands”. True, the documentary evidence of both the first assertion and the second was not preserved for history.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping has not talked with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since 2012. American newspapers called their handshake, captured on the margins of the APEC summit in Beijing (November 2014) "very cold." As The Wall Street Journal wrote, "Comrade Xi Jinping looked like a man who met a new friend of his ex-wife."
US President Barack Obama at the first meeting with Cuban leader Raul Castro in April 2009. More than half a century, Washington and Havana feuded. Relations between the two countries warmed in December 2014.
Prince Charles shakes hands with Irish nationalist leader Jerry Adams on May 19, 2015. The Temporary Sinn Fein party led by Adams is considered the political wing of the IRA, a terrorist group that counts, among other things, the death of Prince Charles's relatives.