Did Putin meet Reagan?

Speculation is whizzing around the internet that a photo from the 1980s shows a KGB-era Vladimir Putin standing next to US President Ronald Reagan in Red Square, pretending to be a tourist.

Here’s the picture, discovered in the Reagan archives. Apparently, Putin’s the guy on the left in the stripy t-shirt, camera hanging nonchalantly round his neck.

The day Putin met Reagan?

Well, he’s certainly got same the thin blonde combed-across hair and looks to be roughly similar in build to today’s Putin. But is this really a genuine Putin Reagan photo?

According to the blogs (Hot Air are one, and the Weekly Standard are in on it too), it’s Putin, no doubt. The photographer has even “confirmed that the man was Putin.”

But, hang on a minute. Go across to the National Public Radio story cited by the Weekly Standard, and what you actually get is the following quote from photographer Pete Souza:

Souza says he remembers turning to one of the Secret Service agents standing nearby. “I can’t believe these tourists in the Soviet Union are asking these pointed questions.” The agent replied, “Oh, these are all KGB families.”

Not a single word about Putin. So, other than a reasonable likeness, and the knowledge that Putin was in the KGB and the man with the camera might have been, there’s absolutely no evidence to indicate that this is a Putin Reagan picture.

Personally, I reckon it’s a load of old nonsense. It’s a good story, but it’s just some blonde guy with a camera. What do you think?

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5 Responses

  1. Agree as I just got thru what caught my eye in terms of the latest headlines as of the posting of this note:

    http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?14@59.Z4QCfWQupbJ@.7760b692/1391

    Michael Averko´s last blog post..WINNING AT WORKING: WHAT YOU CONTROL

  2. Christian says:

    I think it’s likely that everyone who got within a hundred feet of Reagan was working for the KGB, GRU, or one of the other security services, but I’m not convinced that it’s Putin for two reasons. Firstly, Putin was stationed in East Germany at the time, working for the part of the Bureau that spied on the USSR’s communist allies. Secondly, you’d think that someone who loves having a tough-guy image as much as Vova would have mentioned this before.

    Christian´s last blog post..BSG at the UN

  3. Devin says:

    I agree that is definitely not Putin -not only do the ages not match up -but to me they do not even look similar. Interesting post -I so enjoy this blog!!

    Devin´s last blog post..Meanings, Maps and Territories

  4. Andreas says:

    It looks a lot more like Sergey Ivanov I would say. He is not that blond anymore, but the pointy nose is not Putins’s.

  5. Dims says:

    And what’s about background guy in sunglasses.
    He looks like Dmitry Medvedev!