Vladimir Putin recently threw a fancy party to celebrate his country’s national day on Monday 13 June.
Discover our latest podcast
Hosting a State Awards Ceremony At The Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, he presented medals and certificates to a selected few.
But his carefully staged appearance and patriotic speech didn’t just fail to impress observers but also caused waves of ridicule online.
As Vladimir Putin was seen standing many feet away from the audience, he was labelled ‘a tiny man, terrified of his people’.
Vladimir Putin is ridiculed online: ‘Paranoid much?’
Vladimir Putin’s unusually big distance from the audience on Russia Day this Monday triggered quite a storm in comments section on social media.
The Russian leader appeared to be many feet away from his supporters - a move that was most certainly carefully planned by him and his security team - as he made an entrance and launched a speech during a State Awards Ceremony at The Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow.
The event saw him giving away gold medals and certificates to Russians with outstanding achievements in science and technology, literature and art, humanitarian activity, human rights and charity work.
Markus Hankins, publisher of Sweden's Hela Hisingen news site wrote:
Check the distance Putin has between himself and the audience. Paranoid much?
During his speech, Vladimir Putin asked his people to unite around and show support for soldiers fighting on his behalf in what he called ‘the special military operation’ in Ukraine.
With no good news to report, he stayed away from addressing Ukrainian advances following their counteroffensive.
Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine's minister of internal affairs, who posted the now viral video with over 800K views, wrote on Twitter:
A tiny man, terrified of his people (note the distance between him and the audience), committing enormous crimes.
'Putin is terrified'
Experts believe that the Russian leader stays as far from people as possible during his public appearance for the fear of catching Covid-19.
The pictures of him seated at the opposite end of a long table while briefing his ministers or meeting other world leaders inspired countless memes.
The former Federal Guard Service (FSO) employee Gleb Karakulov once detailed how Kremlin staff ‘have to observe a strict quarantine for two weeks before any event, even those lasting 15 to 20 minutes’.
According to him, only those who underwent this security measure can work in the same room with Vladimir Putin.
WorldAtWarTwitter account supports the theory that he is driven by fear.
Putin is terrified. However, he has put himself in this position. I think time will eventually catch up with him. Like always!
Commenting on the Russian President's latest appearance, social media users also suggested that he was using his body double at the event.
One user wrote:
The distance is probably also there to help conceal the fact it's a double. I doubt the real Putin has been in any public setting in quite a while.
Although Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskovhas previously called these rumours a ‘lie’, Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for Ukraine's military intelligence agency, insists that ‘it is a fact that is based both on operative intelligence and on the assessments of physiognomists and many other specialists’.
- Newsweek: 'Paranoid' Putin Mocked for Maintaining Far Distance From Audience'