Support The Moscow Times!

'Tiny Putin' Photo With Trump Sparks Criticism and Memes in Russia

It was supposed to reflect President Vladimir Putin’s global stature and friendly relations with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Instead, an AFP press pool photo of Putin shaking hands with Trump, who is perched atop a platform looking down on the Russian president, became the source of ridicule and criticism among Russian-speaking internet users — stemming from the Kremlin's reported policy of avoiding photo-ops in which the Russian leader looks shorter than those around him.

“Heads will roll at [Russia’s state-run news agency] TASS,” journalist Pavel Pryanikov tweeted Sunday after the agency reportedly used the photograph in its coverage of the handshake.

By Monday afternoon, TASS had replaced the unflattering photograph with one in which Putin is seated on the same level as other world leaders.

Here is how social media responded to the encounter:

"That time when you see an upperclassmen you know in the crowd."

"When the photographer isn't from the Kremlin pool."

Under a magnifying glass.

"Delete it!"

This user noted that Putin was presented with worthy candidates for a recent photo-op. "But they couldn't find a minister of a suitable size," he added.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.