Throughout Vladimir Putin's 17 years of being in power he has longed to be treated as an equal partner on the world stage by the United States president.

While the Russian president was friendly with George W. Bush and was offered a "reset" by Barack Obama, in Trump he found an ally who would not question the actions of his government.

Trump called his two-hour meeting with Putin at the G20 summit in Germany as "tremendous".

The author of The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, Masha Gessen said the meeting showed the US would no longer hold Russia accountable.


"Since at least the 1970s, Russian leaders and Soviet leaders before them had to face questions about political freedoms and human rights when they met with their American counterparts," Gessen wrote in the New York Times.

"The Trump administration has ended that tradition."

Gessen said Putin had always wanted to be treated as an equal partner in his relationship with US, something he didn't achieve with George W Bush or Barack Obama.

"He wants to be treated as an equal partner on the world stage and not to be questioned about or pressed on the Russian government's actions inside Russia or in what he considers his sphere of influence," he wrote.

"Mr Putin never achieved his objective - until now. His fourth American president has given him exactly what he wanted: respect, camaraderie and freedom from criticism."

The one accomplishment of the meeting, Gessen said, was the limited ceasefire in Syria the two negotiated. An acknowledgment that the United States and Russia were equals in the Syrian conflict.

"He [Putin] spent years cajoling and then blackmailing the Obama administration into accepting Russia's decisive role in the Middle East," he said.

"Now, Mr Trump has handed him much more than that. He has demonstrated that Russia and the United States can negotiate Syrian life and death without involving any Syrians."


While Syria was on the agenda, the issues seemingly removed due to this new-found friendship were Russia's many ongoing controversies.

A crackdown of dissidents in the country led to more than 1700 protesters arrested in a single day and there has been no news about the investigation from Moscow into the purge of gay men in Chechnya.

There was no criticism of Russia's war in Ukraine and its occupation of Crimea.
Putin hailed his first face-to-face meeting with Trump, saying overnight he thinks Trump accepted his assurances that Russia didn't meddle in the US presidential election.

Putin also said that their conversation could be a model for improving ties between the two countries.

Speaking to reporters after the two-day Group of 20 summit in Germany ended, Putin said he and Trump had a long discussion about the allegations of Russian interference in last year's election that have dogged Mr Trump's presidency.

The Russian leader said he reiterated his "well-known" position that "there are no grounds" for the allegations.

"He asked many questions on the subject, I tried to answer them all," Putin said. "It seems to me that he has taken note of that and agreed, but it's better to ask him about his attitude."

"He asked questions, I replied. It seemed to me that he was satisfied with the answers."
Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, told broadcaster CNN that Trump raised the election issue "right away" during the Putin meeting.

"He wanted to basically look him in the eye and let him know that, yes, we know you meddled in our elections - yes, we know you did it, and cut it out," she said.

"He confronted President Putin. He made it the first thing that he talked about, and I think we have to now see where it goes from here."

Putin's denial was expected, Haley said, insisting that "everybody knows" that Russia meddled US elections and around the world to "cause chaos".

- With wires and