Now this is something you don’t often see from American and Russian leaders. Presidents Obama and Medvedev have released a joint statement of international partnership in commemoration of the “Spirit of the Elbe,” when the western and eastern allied offensives in Europe converged. That meeting was typically understood through the Cold War as a tragic reminder that total war ought never break out, even as NATO-Warsaw Pact tensions persisted. Obama and Medvedev are taking it as a symbol of a new chapter in geopolitics:

April 25, 2010 marks the 65th anniversary of the legendary meeting of Soviet and American troops at the Elbe River, which became a striking symbol of the brotherhood-in-arms between our nations during World War II.

We pay tribute to the courage of those who fought together to liberate Europe from fascism. Their heroic feat will forever remain in the grateful memory of mankind.

The atmosphere of mutual trust and shared commitment to victory, which accompanied the historic handshake at the Elbe, is especially called for today when Russia and the United States are building a partnership for the sake of a stable and prosperous world. We are convinced that, acting in the “spirit of the Elbe” on an equitable and constructive basis, we can successfully tackle any tasks facing our nations and effectively deal with the challenges of the new millennium.

Prediction: the Chinese abstain from a Security Council vote on Iran sanctions, out of unwillingness to be the sole power that scuttles a sanctions package now that the Russians place a higher priority on establishing a more constructive relationship with the United States.