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Russians, Saudis look to spruce up relations

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi King Salman reached around their differences to sign lucrative agreements and improve relations, but the differences are still there.

The Saudi king’s visit to Russia this week was an event Moscow has been anticipating for many years. Amid recent years' flurry of visits by Middle Eastern leaders, the Saudi monarch arguably had been the only one missing. So when he eventually came on Oct. 4, the king “received a czar-level reception,” wrote Andrey Kolesnikov, a Russian journalist of the Kommersant newspaper who's been covering Vladimir Putin's presidency for many years.

In Kolesnikov's view, not only was the trip historic in that it was the first state visit to Russia by a sitting Saudi monarch, but it was also “unprecedented in that the big Kremlin Palace where [the meeting] took place on Oct. 5 needed a light reconstruction to meet the demand of the Saudi party to make possible the king’s movement in a special electric car around the palace.”

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