Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday February 17, 2022
Putin’s Long Tables Explained
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s every move is dissected as fears escalate that he’ll soon order an invasion of Ukraine, but attention has recently turned to why Putin sits across from a comically large table during meetings with other world leaders, the most recent instance of which came Tuesday during a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
The issue took global spotlight last week after Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron sat at opposite ends of a table pegged by Reuters to be 20 feet long during their meeting in Moscow.
The extreme social distance came after Macron refused to take a Russian-administered Covid-19 PCR test, and Reuters reported Thursday it was because France didn’t want Russia to have access to Macron’s DNA, citing two anonymous sources close to Macron.
Another French official told Reuters the protocols were due to Putin living a “strict health bubble,” and the Kremlin confirmed the extreme distance is to protect Putin.
Scholz met the same distanced fate as Macron during his Tuesday meeting in Moscow, sparking memes and providing comic relief during otherwise tense negotiations.