Putin, Germaphobe With Long Tables, Took Selfies, Kissed Russians

  • Putin made a couple public appearances this week while doing damage control after the Wagner rebellion.
  • He was even photographed taking selfies and kissing a member of the public.
  • The images provided a stark contrast to the famously long tables he has used at the Kremlin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fondness for ludicrously long tables that put an absurd amount of distance between him and the person he’s meeting with is well known — but the germaphobe was spotted this week cozying up to the Russian people as he does some damage control in the wake of the short-lived Wagner rebellion.

Putin met with Russians in Derbent on Wednesday night, in what was his first public walkabout with members of the public since the pandemic began, according to the Financial Times.

The Russian leader was doing damage control this week after the Wagner mercenary group, led by former Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, staged an armed rebellion against the country’s military leaders. After a march towards Moscow, Prigozhin ultimately turned his troops around, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed, and was exiled to Belarus. Military and Russia experts told Insider the mutiny made Putin look very weak, and that it could spell the beginning of the end for his time in power.

Putin, Macron

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) meets French President Emmanuel Macron (R) on February 07, 2022 in Moscow, Russia.

Kremlin Press Office/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The sight of Putin kissing the head of a young Russian admirer stood in stark contrast to the images of Putin taking meetings at a confusingly long table. Reports have said the long table was used as a precaution against COVID-19, but the images were striking.

Putin has pulled out the preposterously long table to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron and the United Nations secretary-general, among others. He’s even used a round, but also still long, table to meet with the members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

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