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These British Schoolboys Met Vladimir Putin Before Their New Prime Minister Did

It remains unclear how they pulled it off, but 11 British schoolboys got two hours with the Russian president.

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What did 11 British schoolboys do to pull off a two-hour meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin? No one really seems to know, but they got to it more quickly than recently appointed Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson — who have yet to make it to Moscow since taking over their new roles in July.

There’s really only one way to describe the pictures that emerged from the mysterious meeting: They’re hilarious and completely perfect in every single way.

In some, the boys, who were dressed in sports blazers and ties, sat around an ornate white table discussing who knows what while Putin looks on attentively. In another, they dramatically posed in what appears to be a waiting area, clearly proud they were somehow allowed into the president’s office.

The group came from Eton College, an elite, private boarding school in Britain, which said in a statement that “this was a private visit by a small group of boys organized entirely at their own initiative and independently of the college.”

That statement alone allows one to imagine the conversations these boys had in Eton dorm rooms ahead of the trip, as they pulled every string they could think of to organize the meeting.

“It took me a total of 10 months, 1,040 emails, 1,000 text messages, countless sleepless nights, constant paranoia during A2 exam season, declining academic performance … but here we are,” David Wei, who attended the meeting, wrote on Facebook. “Guys, we truly gave Putin a deep impression of us and he responded by showing us his human face.”

Congratulations, David. Now share your secret with us.

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Photo credit: Facebook and Twitter

Siobhán O’Grady is a freelance journalist working across sub-Saharan Africa. She previously worked as a staff writer at Foreign Policy. @siobhan_ogrady

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