Rugby vs. Softball Barbs abound in Russian-German Consultations

Germany's relationship with Russia has eroded in recent years, with Berlin becoming much more critical of President Vladimir Putin's slow slide into authoritarianism. Ahead of Merkel's Friday arrival in Moscow, top Russian officials have ratcheted up the caustic rhetoric in response.
Merkel and Putin, among others, as matryoshka dolls at souvenir stand near the Kremlin

Merkel and Putin, among others, as matryoshka dolls at souvenir stand near the Kremlin

Kay Nietfeld/ dpa