Three Places Vladimir Putin Should Visit in Washington, DC

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Russian President Vladimir Putin at an informal summit of CIS heads of state at the Novo Ogaryovo residence. (Credit Image: © Sharifulin Valery/TASS via ZUMA Press)

In a presidency fraught with seismic announcements, actions and adventures, the proposed invitation made last week by President Donald Trump to meet in the nation’s capital with Russian President Vladimir Putin was certainly among the most noteworthy.Hey

After all, relations between the two nations has not at all been rosy, so to say, given charges of meddling related to the 2016 general election. And, it’s been reported that Mr. Putin often resorts to very, very hardball tactics to combat political challenges.

But then, hometown meetings between the leaders of these two world powers has happened before. In 1972, President Richard Nixon joined a summit soiree with General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev of the Communist Party of the then Soviet Union.

So, perhaps the U.S. is due to invite a Russian leader to the White House.

Plans for the Putin visit this fall are still being finalized, and it’s certainly speculative that the visit will materialize. Should he commit to the trip, I offer suggestions on three places to visit while in Washington — should time allow between formal dinners, closed-door meetings and other “regular” agenda items.

  1. The International Spy Museum: Okay, this is a no-brainer.  During our 2016 vacation, Susan and I included a stop at this multi-level building on F Street containing “the largest collection of international espionage artifacts ever placed on public display.” Who knows: Perhaps Mr. Putin, a 16-year KGB employee, already has visited the museum.  Better yet, maybe some of the stuff on display was even used by Mr. Putin. Maybe he’ll even add personal stuff to the collection.
  2.  The Lincoln Memorial: Yes, there are lots and lots of compelling monuments, memorials and bronzed men on horseback on public display throughout Washington. But I would highly recommend that Mr. Putin stop by the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall and read these words above the gigantic seated marble figure of the 16th president. “In this temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.” In case Mr. Putin is not a student of history, the United States remains a union and a democracy. It will remain one forever, even if foreign powers attempt to surreptitiously alter elections.
  3.  The Big Hunt: International travel and formal meetings can take their toll. Mr. Putin may want to chill out with an adult beverage after the rounds of ceremony, news conferences and pomp and circumstance.  My suggestion: Stop by The Big Hunt, an unabashed dive bar and restaurant on Connecticut Avenue in DuPont Circle. I visit this establishment whenever I’m in the District because the Big Hunt is raucous and real, beers are plentiful and cheap and the conversation among patrons stimulating. I’m sure the locals would welcome a discussion with Mr. Putin over a glass of vodka. Hey, maybe he’d even buy a round!

Assuredly, I’m not an expert on all the most memorable, fascinating and cool places to visit in the District — although I have visited there at least 10 times over my lifetime. In fact, I published a retrospective piece inspired during my visit in January of this year and this travelogue post from the spring of 2016.

My plans call for a return visit to Washington in January of 2019. Wonder if the town — or the nation or the world — will change should the Russian leader, indeed, arrive this fall and leave his mark on Washington.

Now, it’s your turn: What venues in the District would you recommend?






Washington, D.C. Beyond the Monuments: A Travelogue

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

A common phrase often associated with the nation’s capital is “Beyond the Beltway,” a reference to the world outside Interstate 495, the limited access highway surrounding greater Washington, D.C.

And, many know that “Beyond the Beltway” also is the name of a syndicated radio program that originates here in Chicago.

This somewhat subtle reference to the vast part of America outside the seat of power provided inspiration for this post, one of the always popular (at least for me to produce) PRDude travelogue reports.

Last week, Susan and I visited Washington in order to enjoy the District at our own pace as visitors rather than while on business.  From our hotel in the way cool DuPont Circle neighborhood, we visited some of the grand places that make most must-visit lists. But we also were intrigued by places not cited frequently by those who contribute to Trip Advisor.

From the images to follow, here’s my perspective on places we found fascinating in some less-known corners of Washington:

DC one

The National Portrait Gallery has a regular exhibit of official paintings of our Presidents. Here’s me with Theodore Roosevelt, referred to in a documentary as “an American Lion.” I’d love to have shared a beer with TR.


DC eight

At the World War II memorial on the National Mall, I paused for a while by the pillar for Illinois. The small wreath was posted by students from Boone High School.


DC eleven

A figure of a solider at the Korean War Memorial was particularly intriguing to me. This guy was responsible for communications.


DC fifteen

Located outside an embassy on Massachusetts Avenue, I was captivated by this figure. I know what you’re thinking: What’s on his mind?


DC five

In this digital world, you never know when you need an eraser. Susan posed with this over sized version at the Sculpture Garden near the National Archives.


DC fourteen

Looks historic, right? On the plaza at Georgetown University. Founded in 1789, it’s the nation’s oldest Catholic and Jesuit university. And the adjacent neighborhood of the same name is frozen in time.


DC seven

On the National Mall near the Washington Monument, I spent time listening to these young people performing Christian music in a temporary venue called David’s Tent. For what they lacked in musical skill, they made up with passion and honesty.


DC six

Okay. I had to include a glamour shot of the Washington Monument. Up close, it’s a lot bigger than you’d imagine.


DC ten

One of my favorite images: Catching a real moment between visitors at the Lincoln Memorial. It’s a solemn place, but full of life when I visited.


DC thirteen

A street in DuPont Circle. I could live here. It’s civilized and refined without being ostentatious. Plus there’s great bars, restaurants and a Metro station.

One image not included in this post was of the famous cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin. The peak colors were just starting when we departed late last week.

A reason to return and look beyond the monuments for what makes this city great. Now if only Congress could get on track and start governing.

But that topic is for another time.