December 09, 2023

Fur hats and limo talks: Behind the scenes of Russian efforts to wow Kim Jong Un

Moscow pulled out all the stops for North Korean leader, using flattery and gifts to bolster ties and send signals

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s lengthy trip to the Russian Far East and summit with Vladimir Putin made headlines around the world this month, providing a dramatic display of Moscow’s efforts to build a coalition against the West to gain the upper hand in Ukraine.

But while many observers focused on the prospect of DPRK arms sales to Russia, a number of interactions between Kim and his hosts that largely flew under the radar provide a revealing look into the careful political stagecraft that went into the North Korean leader’s nine-day visit.