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Fact Check: This Is a Real Photo Of Putin Speaking with Other Leaders at an Enormous Table

In Europe
January 10, 2024

Claim:

A photo authentically shows Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking with regional leaders at an enormous but sparsely populated table.

Rating:

Rating: True

Rating: True

On Jan 9. 2024, a Reddit post showing a photo of world leaders gathered at an enormous table went viral in the subreddit r/Damnthatsinteresting. The post was captioned “Putin’s table as he meets with four other leaders at Caspian summit.”

This was an accurate description of a photo taken on June 29, 2022, during the 6th Caspian Sea Summit. As described by The Associated Press, the event — a regional summit of leaders from Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan — was Putin’s first public appearance following his full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February of that year:

Russian President Vladimir Putin and the leaders of the other four countries along the Caspian Sea […] reaffirmed their shared commitment to keep foreign militaries out of the region. The presidents of Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan met in Turkmenistan’s capital, Ashgabat, for a summit to discuss regional cooperation and international issues.

While journalists were not present inside the room, a video from the event housed on Getty Images shows the monitors from which journalists watched the meeting showing Putin speaking at the same table:

The picture of the Caspian Sea meeting first went viral at the time of the meeting as a companion to a photo of the 2022 G7 summit, which occurred a few days earlier and saw many more world leaders crowded around a much smaller table. Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the minister of internal affairs of Ukraine, for example, made this comparison on X at the time:

Putin’s public appearances often involve abnormally long or large tables, which has been a consistent source of speculation and mockery since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Because the description of this photograph showing Putin and three other world leaders at a large table is accurate, the claim is True.

Sources:

“Caspian Nations Reaffirm Pledge to Keep Foreign Armies Out.” AP News, 29 June 2022, https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-putin-azerbaijan-regional-cooperation-caspian-sea-fbedcde84fdfa80d146d508c90442f63.

“Journalists Watch the Speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin On…” Getty Images, https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/video/journalists-watch-the-speech-of-russian-president-news-footage/1405811755. Accessed 9 Jan. 2024.

“What Putin’s Very Long Table Tells Us about Russia’s Inner Workings.” NBC News, 17 Feb. 2022, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/vladimir-putin-ukraine-russia-crisis-long-table-kremlin-memes-rcna16670.

Aila Slisco. “Putin and His Allies Mocked for Meeting at Absolutely Massive Table.” Newsweek, 29 June 2022, https://www.newsweek.com/putin-his-allies-mocked-meeting-absolutely-massive-table-1720473.

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