Russian President Vladimir Putin and four allies have been mocked for meeting at an oversized table in Turkmenistan one day after Group of Seven (G7) leaders met at an average-sized table in Germany.
Putin met with Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Kazakhstani President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Iranian President Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi for the sixth iteration of the Caspian Summit in the Turkmenistan capital of Ashgabat on Wednesday. Leaders including President Joe Biden completed the annual G7 summit, which was hosted by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in Bavaria on Tuesday.
Photos of the Caspian Summit quickly circulated online, with many mocking the meeting’s extra-large table compared to the smaller table used at the recent G7 Summit. Putin was also mocked for meeting with foreign leaders and members of his own government at an unusually large table in Moscow earlier this year.
“Above – the G7 summit. 9 people at the table. Below – the Caspian summit (Putin is participating). 5 people at the table,” Anton Gerashchenko, advisor to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, tweeted on Wednesday alongside a collage showing the two summits.
Above – the G7 summit. 9 people at the table.
Below – the Caspian summit (Putin is participating).5 people at the table. pic.twitter.com/yApmkZZ0tH
— Anton Gerashchenko (@Gerashchenko_en) June 29, 2022
“The Putin table game is back at the Caspian summit being held in Turkmenistan,” writer Kabir Taneja tweeted. “And this one is…well…huge!”
“There are 5 world leaders attending today’s Caspian Summit in Ashgabat,” tweeted Luke Coffey, senior fellow at the conservative think tank Hudson Institute. “Putin is one of them. I think their table is too small.”
There are 5 world leaders attending today’s Caspian Summit in Ashgabat. Putin is one of them. I think their table is too small. pic.twitter.com/ixZqafoPOK
— Luke Coffey (@LukeDCoffey) June 29, 2022
“First photo: G7 Summit (nine people at the table) Second photo: Caspian summit (four people and one Putin at the table),” Ukrainian human rights lawyer Oleksandra Matviichuk tweeted. “How do you think can Putin’s tables get even longer? #StandWithUkraine”
“Putin gets a bigger table every dam week,” user @jstoner44 tweeted. “Feel like it’s one of those share this so many times and I will make it bigger deals.”
Putin gets a bigger table every dam week. Feel like it’s one of those share this so many times and I will make it bigger deals. pic.twitter.com/xNrFlYyyAa
— Reverend Winston (@jstoner44) June 30, 2022
“WTF!? On the left is G7 summit with 9 people at the table. On the right is the Caspian summit with Putin,” tweeted @ellebal1111. “There are 5 people at the table. Why are they so far apart!?”
WTF!? On the left is G7 summit with 9 people at the table. On the right is the Caspian summit with Putin. There are 5 people at the table. Why are they so far apart!? https://t.co/7hSiOAMy0X
— François Labelle (@ellebal1111) June 29, 2022
Putin’s appearance in Ashgabat marked his first trip outside Russia since the country’s invasion of Ukraine began February 24. The Russian president and his allies discussed commitments to keep foreign militaries out of the Caspian Sea region on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
On the same day in Madrid, Spain, NATO leaders reportedly began their annual summit by calling Russia the “most significant and direct threat” to international peace and security, while pledging support for Ukraine.
Photos of Putin meeting at an extra-long table with Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, both NATO and G7 leaders, were mocked earlier this year. COVID-19 prevention measures may have played a role when Putin was also snapped meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a different oversized table around the same time.
Newsweek reached out to the Russian government and Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.
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