Infamous Leaders of Russia and Italy Caught in the Middle of Wine

 


You can’t expect a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Italian president Silvio Berlusconi to be a squeaky clean affair.

As expected, when the two men met at the Crimean Massandra winery for a wine tasting, a legendary bottle of Spanish wine got caught up in the quaffing between the stone-cold Russian and the uber-playboy Italian.

Now, a prosecutor from the former Crimean state has opened a criminal case against the infamous duo.

“He opened a criminal case for large scale theft over the incident, estimating the loss at two million hryvnia, or about £60,000,” an article by The Guardian (U.K) reported Friday.

There seems to be bad blood – and understandably so – between the prosecutor and Putin, whose government annexed the country in 2014.

Apparently, the prosecutor did not take too kindly to the fact that the cavalier duo cracked open a 240-year-old bottle of Jeres de la Frontera. The quaffer was one of the treasures of the winery’s formidable collection, a bottle which Count Mikhail Voronstov brought to the region during the reign of Catherine the Great.

The winery itself holds about half a million bottles of wine, the story pointed out.
The wine tasting was part of a tour of the winery’s facilities. Berlusconi and Putin toured Massandra with a guide. Video of the visit show the tour guide take the pair through the barrel room, into the production facility and eventually to the winery’s cellar.

Berlusconi was not shy about his intentions, asking the guide if he could open up a bottle from 1891.

According to The Guardian¸ the shenanigans continued to the point that Putin broke his normally austere countenance to take a silly photo with Berlusconi.

While Vlad and Silvio may have been playing games during their boozy visit, the Ukranian government was in no mood for high jinx. The country’s national security council, it was reported, imposed a ban in which Berlusconi is not allowed to enter the country for three years.

 Part of the Ukrainian vitriol is the fact that Berlusconi and Putin’s choice to meet in Crimea was a clear violation of the European Union’s condemnation of Russia’s annexation of Crimean.

“The Kremlin has not commented on the criminal case but it’s not clear how the Ukrainian authorities could hope to bring Pavlenko, Berlusconi or Putin to account,” the story said.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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