The kiss seen round Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already shown a low tolerance for free markets and a free press, but now he might be taking on another classic autocrat characteristic: eccentric behavior. In a scene broadcast over Russian television last week, Putin spontaneously bent down, lifted up the shirt of a five-year-old boy visiting the Kremlin, and ...

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already shown a low tolerance for free markets and a free press, but now he might be taking on another classic autocrat characteristic: eccentric behavior.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already shown a low tolerance for free markets and a free press, but now he might be taking on another classic autocrat characteristic: eccentric behavior.

In a scene broadcast over Russian television last week, Putin spontaneously bent down, lifted up the shirt of a five-year-old boy visiting the Kremlin, and kissed him on the stomach. As if that wasn’t eccentric enough, Putin explained the kiss today by saying:

He seemed very independent and serious… I wanted to cuddle him like a kitten and it came out in this gesture. He seemed so nice.

 

More from Foreign Policy

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping give a toast during a reception following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping give a toast during a reception following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21.

Can Russia Get Used to Being China’s Little Brother?

The power dynamic between Beijing and Moscow has switched dramatically.

Xi and Putin shake hands while carrying red folders.
Xi and Putin shake hands while carrying red folders.

Xi and Putin Have the Most Consequential Undeclared Alliance in the World

It’s become more important than Washington’s official alliances today.

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

It’s a New Great Game. Again.

Across Central Asia, Russia’s brand is tainted by Ukraine, China’s got challenges, and Washington senses another opening.

Kurdish military officers take part in a graduation ceremony in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, on Jan. 15.
Kurdish military officers take part in a graduation ceremony in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, on Jan. 15.

Iraqi Kurdistan’s House of Cards Is Collapsing

The region once seemed a bright spot in the disorder unleashed by U.S. regime change. Today, things look bleak.