Russian President Vladimir Putin has been making public appearances this week in an attempt to do damage control following the Wagner rebellion. In an interesting departure from his usual behavior, Putin was seen taking selfies and even kissing a member of the public. This is a stark contrast to the image of Putin sitting at famously long tables during official meetings at the Kremlin.
The Wagner rebellion, led by former Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, caused considerable turmoil in Russia. The mercenary group staged an armed rebellion against the country’s military leaders and planned to march towards Moscow. However, Prigozhin ultimately turned his troops around, claiming he wanted to avoid bloodshed, and was subsequently exiled to Belarus. Many military and Russia experts believe that this rebellion has made Putin look weak and could potentially signal the beginning of the end of his time in power.
In an effort to regain public favor and demonstrate his connection with the Russian people, Putin recently visited Derbent and engaged in a walkabout with members of the public. This was his first public interaction since the beginning of the pandemic. The images of Putin cozying up to the Russian people provide a stark contrast to the usual image of him sitting at a long table during official meetings.
It is worth noting that the use of long tables during official meetings has been attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic as a precautionary measure. However, the sight of Putin engaging with the public in a more intimate way raises questions about the purpose and symbolism behind the long tables.
This is not the first time that Putin’s use of long tables has garnered attention. He has been known to use preposterously long tables during meetings with world leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations secretary-general. In fact, he even introduced a round table, although it was still long, when meeting with members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
The images of Putin kissing the head of a young Russian admirer highlight the contrast between his public persona and his official image. While the official meetings at the long tables convey distance and formality, the spontaneous gesture of affection towards a member of the public conveys a sense of warmth and connection.
In conclusion, Putin’s recent public appearances and interactions with the Russian people serve as a form of damage control following the Wagner rebellion. These images, whether intentional or not, provide a contrast to his usual image of sitting at long tables during official meetings. The symbolism behind the long tables and the significance of Putin’s departure from them raises intriguing questions about his leadership style and connection with the Russian people.