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The War Comes to Kalorama

Philippe Étienne
French ambassador to the United States, Philippe Étienne. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Julia Ioffe
June 14, 2022

Philippe Étienne loves Russia. When I was first introduced to the French ambassador, at an event organized by unofficial D.C. mayor (and recent Semafor hire) Steve Clemons, Étienne began to speak to me in Russian. It was soft and wrapped in a thick, charming French accent, but it was still quite good after 20 years, the time that had passed since Étienne worked as a cultural attaché in the French embassy in Moscow.