Putin, a germaphobe known for meeting people at ridiculously long tables, took selfies kissing ordinary Russians this week

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, poses for a selfie with local citizens

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, poses for a selfie with local citizens during his working visit to the Republic of Dagestan, in Derbent, Russia, Wednesday, June 28, 2023.Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo/Associated Press

  • Putin has made a few public appearances this week while doing damage control after the Wagner Rebellion.

  • He was even photographed taking selfies and kissing a member of the public.

  • The images provided a stark contrast to the famous long tables he used in the Kremlin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s penchant for ridiculously long tables that put an absurd distance between him and the person he meets is well known – but the germaphobe was spotted this week bonding with the Russian people as he controls the damage in the wake of the short-lived Wagnerian rebellion.

Putin met Russians in Derbent on Wednesday evening, during his first public walk with members of the public since the start of the pandemic, according to the Financial Times.

The Russian leader was controlling the damage this week after the Wagner mercenary group, led by former Putin ally Yevgeny Prigozhin, staged an armed rebellion against the country’s military leaders. After a march to Moscow, Prigozhin finally turned back with his troops, saying he wanted to avoid bloodshed, and was exiled to Belarus. Military and Russian experts told Insider the mutiny made Putin look very weak and could spell the beginning of the end of his tenure in power.

Putin, Macron

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) meets with French President Emmanuel Macron (right) on February 7, 2022 in Moscow, Russia.Kremlin Press Office/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The sight of Putin kissing the head of a young Russian admirer contrasted sharply with the images of Putin taking meetings at a long, confusing table. Reports said the long table was being used as a precaution against COVID-19, but the images were stark.

Putin pulled out the ridiculously long table to meet French President Emmanuel Macron and the UN Secretary General, among others. He even used a round table, but also always long, to meet with members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

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