When Putin met Reagan?

Radio Free Europe’s Brian Whitmore shares this photo, which many are claiming depicts an encounter between now Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (the blonde man on the left with the cameras) and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Moscow’s Red Square. In case you’re wondering why the then-KGB Colonel would be dressed like a dorky tourist, ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
587755_090316_reagan2.jpg
587755_090316_reagan2.jpg
5/31/1988 President Reagan greets a young boy while touring Red Square during the Moscow Summit in the USSR

Radio Free Europe's Brian Whitmore shares this photo, which many are claiming depicts an encounter between now Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (the blonde man on the left with the cameras) and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Moscow's Red Square. In case you're wondering why the then-KGB Colonel would be dressed like a dorky tourist, the official White House photographer recalls the encounter to NPR:

Souza recounts a story from a trip to Russia with Reagan. He shot photos of Reagan as the president toured Moscow's Red Square with then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev introduced Reagan to various tourists, who asked the American president pointed questions about subjects such as human rights in the United States. Souza says he remembers turning to one of the Secret Service agents standing nearby. "I can't believe these tourists in the Soviet Union are asking these pointed questions." The agent replied, "Oh, these are all KGB families."

Radio Free Europe’s Brian Whitmore shares this photo, which many are claiming depicts an encounter between now Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (the blonde man on the left with the cameras) and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in Moscow’s Red Square. In case you’re wondering why the then-KGB Colonel would be dressed like a dorky tourist, the official White House photographer recalls the encounter to NPR:

Souza recounts a story from a trip to Russia with Reagan. He shot photos of Reagan as the president toured Moscow’s Red Square with then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev introduced Reagan to various tourists, who asked the American president pointed questions about subjects such as human rights in the United States. Souza says he remembers turning to one of the Secret Service agents standing nearby. “I can’t believe these tourists in the Soviet Union are asking these pointed questions.” The agent replied, “Oh, these are all KGB families.”

Update: Because this post is getting a lot of attention, I feel I should clarify that I didn’t mean to imply that the man in the photo definitely is Putin. I thought that phrasing the title as a question as well as the phrase “many are claiming” would make it clear that I was just sharing some interesting Internet speculation, but I should probably have been more explicit. Sorry if anyone was confused. 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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