Russian President Vladimir Putin was once again in the spotlight when a video documenting the intriguing incident went viral on the internet. The video showed Putin standing on a boat near Lakhta Center in St. Petersburg, accompanied by Elena Ilyukhina, an official with the Russian oil refining company Gazprom Neft. As the Russian national anthem played in the background, Elena began talking to Putin, who responded by standing silently, as if to show respect for the anthem.
Aware of etiquette, Putin put his finger to his lips, subtly reminding his chatty companion not to speak during the national anthem.
Awkward silence and online reactions
In the remaining seconds of the 22-second video, there is an uneasy silence between Putin and Elena. The incident quickly gained attention on social media platforms, with a Twitter page sharing the video with the caption: “Vladimir Putin reminds his loquacious host not to speak during Russian national anthem.” Meanwhile, another user on Twitter called Elena’s actions “a huge mistake”.
The incident reportedly took place during a solemn flag-raising ceremony in St. Petersburg, which commemorates an important milestone in Russian history. The ceremony marked the 330th anniversary of Peter I’s tricolor, the 100th anniversary of the Soviet red flag and the 165th anniversary of the flag of the Russian Empire. As an attendee at the event, Putin was expected to maintain proper decorum during the performance of the national anthem.
Putin recently met Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu
Interestingly, this incident came after another bizarre interaction involving Putin. Just a few days ago, a video went viral showing Putin appearing to be cold to his defense minister, Sergei Shoigu.
During a visit to a Moscow military hospital to present medals to Russian soldiers, Putin made contact with some soldiers before returning to the center of the room where Shoigu was. Instead of facing Shoigu, however, Putin turned his back on him, an unexpected move that visibly confused the defense minister.
You don’t have to be a body language expert to understand how Putin currently feels about his Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu… pic.twitter.com/ZRfJaJDE1X
— Jimmy Rushton (@JimmySecUK) June 12, 2023
The instances were captured on video that went viral, sparking a lot of interest and speculation among online users and observers of Russian politics. While the incident with Elena highlighted Putin’s commitment to upholding decorum and respect for national symbols, his encounter with Shoigu added to the intrigue surrounding his actions and mannerisms.
While the world watches and dissects these unusual moments, the real motives behind Putin’s gestures remain the subject of speculation and interpretation.
Ukrainian politician Volodymyr Omelian shared video clips of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s interactions with his defense minister as he speculated about Shoigu’s job security saying he would soon lose his job. Such speculation surrounded Shoigu throughout the course of the Russo-Ukrainian war.
Shoigu has drawn criticism over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has escalated into a protracted and exhausting conflict. The war took a toll on Russian troops and equipment, and severely affected the Russian economy.
Shoigu faced challenges, and the Russian army paid a heavy price for its limited progress in the winter offensive. As a result, Russian forces were again on the defensive, while Ukrainian forces, armed with Western equipment, launched a counteroffensive to retake the territory.
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The conflict, which Russia dubbed a “special military operation”, was initially expected to end within days of the Russian invasion. However, it has been going on for more than 15 months, causing significant loss of life and expense.