Putin Gave Biden an Expensive Gift in 2021: A Revealing Look into Diplomatic Gift-Giving
At their first presidential summit in Geneva in 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin presented US President Joe Biden with a lavish $12,000 pen and writing set during a brief warming in ties that ended with Putin's invasion of Ukraine eight months later. According to an annual report from the Office of the Chief of Protocol at the State Department, the gift was a “Kholuy lacquer miniature workshop desk writing set and pen”.
Biden was presented with the most expensive writing set from a foreign leader that year. Other gifts that Biden and other administration officials received that year, according to the government report released on Thursday, included a silver-framed photograph of Queen Elizabeth II worth $2,200, two dog bowls and two wool blankets from former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson worth $536.20, and two silk carpets worth $28,800 from former Afghan President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani and his wife.
The report also mentioned that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky presented Biden a US flag in 2021 that is thought to be worth $700.
Gift-giving between foreign leaders can be a revealing tool in foreign diplomacy since it frequently reveals the characteristics of both the donor and the recipient. When Donald Trump was in office, foreign dignitaries presented him with presents, such as a Louis Vuitton golf bag from French President Emmanuel Macron and a golden framed portrait of Trump himself from Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the time.
According to federal law in the United States, the State Department must disclose any gifts worth more than $415 that foreign dignitaries have presented to top officials.
The US State Department’s annual report provides insight into the practice of gift-giving in diplomatic settings, and reveals the personalities of both the giver and the recipient. Putin's gift was by far the most expensive Biden received from a foreign government or head of state in 2021, according to the report. However, the price in this case would have no correlation to the strength of their actual relationship.
Months before the Ukraine invasion, Putin sent Biden some gifts, in a show of regal confidence. At a presidential summit in Geneva in 2021, Putin presented a gift when the two leaders met. The White House stated at the time that Biden had given Putin a pair of Aviators sunglasses, but it did not disclose Putin's lavish gift to the President.
0. “Putin Gave Biden $12,000 Gift 8 Months Before Russia Started War in Ukraine” Bloomberg, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-02-23/putin-gave-biden-12-000-pen-set-months-before-ukraine-invasion
1. “Dog bowls from Johnson, a $12000 desk set from Putin: The gifts foreign leaders gave Biden” The Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/02/23/biden-foreign-gifts-putin/
2. “Months before the Ukraine invasion, Putin sent Biden some gifts” The Bothside News, 23 Feb. 2023, https://thebothsidenews.com/months-before-the-ukraine-invasion-putin-sent-biden-some-gifts
3. “Biden’s $46,000 in Presidential Gifts Include 4 Fancy Pens” Yahoo! Voices, 23 Feb. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/now/biden-46-000-presidential-gifts-222454379.html
4. “Joe Biden Received The Most Expensive Gift From Vladimir Putin In 2021. See Details” NDTV, 24 Feb. 2023, https://www.ndtv.com/feature/months-before-attacking-ukraine-vladimir-putin-gifted-rs-10-lakh-desk-set-to-joe-biden-3810624