Russian President Vladimir Putin and four allies have been mocked for meeting at an oversized table in Turkmenistan, a day after the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) met at an average-sized table in Germany.
Putin met on Wednesday with Turkmen President Serdar Berdimuhamedov, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Kazakhstani President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and Iranian President Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi for the sixth edition of the Caspian summit in the Turkmenistan capital Ashgabat. Leaders, including President Joe Biden, completed the annual G7 summit, hosted by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in Bavaria on Tuesday.
Photos of the Caspian Summit quickly circulated online, with many scoffing at the gathering’s oversized table compared to the smaller table used at the recent G7 summit. Putin was also mocked for meeting foreign leaders and members of his own government earlier this year at an unusually large table in Moscow.
“Above – the G7 summit. 9 people at the table. Below – the Caspian summit (Putin joins). 5 people at the table,” Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs, tweeted on Wednesday next to a collage of the two peaks.
“The Putin table game is back at the Caspian summit held in Turkmenistan,” writes writer Kabir Taneja tweeted† “And this one is… well… huge!”
“There are 5 world leaders in attendance at 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.”
“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 Putin’s tables can get any longer? #StandWithUkraine”
“Putin gets a bigger table every week”, user @jstoner44 tweeted† “It feels like it’s one of those who shares this so often and I’ll make bigger deals out of it.”
“WTF!? On the left is the 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!?”
Putin’s appearance in Ashgabat marked his first trip outside Russia since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The Russian president and his allies discussed pledges on Wednesday to keep foreign military personnel out of the Caspian Sea region, 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 immediate threat” to international peace and security, while pledging support to 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. Prevention measures against COVID-19 may have played a role when Putin also met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at another oversized table around the same time.
news week contacted the Russian government and the Turkmenistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs for comment.