Welcome to Chatting the Pictures. Every two weeks, we present a short, lively video discussion between Michael Shaw, publisher of Reading the Pictures, and writer, professor, and historian, Cara Finnegan, examining a significant picture in the news. Chatting the Pictures is produced by Liliana Michelena.
This pool photo was taken by Mikhail Klimentyev for the Sputnik News Service via the AP. It features Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz during talks in the Kremlin in Moscow on February 15, 2022 as European leaders tried vainly to avert a Russian invasion of Ukraine. Based on everything we know, the outsized table mirrors Putin’s loss of reality.
In the video, we discuss two inordinate factors at play: Putin’s paranoia and his runaway penchant for intimidation. Beyond the mockery of diplomacy, we describe how the scale of the table is also tactically ridiculous. And we illustrate how far Putin has fallen in his command of stagecraft.
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