For several years, Russian President Vladimir Putin almost enjoyed keeping other world leaders waiting.
For powerful man and former KGB agent Putin, it was one of many ways he tried to gain the upper hand in various situations, or simply to lead by example.
The list of prominent world leaders who have had to deal with Putin for a long time is long and includes, among others, Angela Merkel, Donald Trump, Pope Francis, King Carl Gustaf and Queen Elizabeth.
Without forgetting Erna Solberg, who had to wait for Putin in 2019 before a meeting in Saint Petersburg.
“Putin’s only friend”
North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un received far from the same treatment when, for the first time since 2019, he visited Russia on Wednesday.
Not only was Vladimir Putin “exceptionally” punctual, but he was even half an hour early.
“Putin’s unusual punctuality underscored his genuine interest in meeting Kim, one of Putin’s only friends following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the American newspaper writes.
The reason is probably mutual dependence, as Dagbladet wrote yesterday.
Obviously, North Korea wants access to Russian rocket and satellite technology, and Russia wants to buy artillery shells from North Korea, Vladimir Tikhonov, professor of Korean studies, told Dagbladet at the University of Oslo.
– It’s very opportunistic. Russia and North Korea need something from each other, but they also share, in a sense, the same ideology. Both countries believe in fighting US hegemony in the world, Tikhonov said.
Merkel with a waiting file
Unlike “Vladimir” and “Estragon”, who were waiting for “Godot” in Samuel Beckett’s famous play, royalty, clergy and elected officials are not waiting for Vladimir Putin in vain.
Some, however, were forced to sit on the torture bench for a long time.
The world leader who waited the longest for Vladimir Putin is former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Before a meeting in 2014, after Russia occupied and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, Merkel had to wait four and a quarter hours for the Russian president, according to the British newspaper The Independent.
The closest on the list is former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, who was impeached in 2014 and fled to Russia. In 2012, Yanukovych, who still lives in Moscow, had to wait for Putin for four hours.
Queen Elizabeth got off cheap in 2003. The late British monarch had to just wait 14 minutes the Russian president, although it was described as an attack on British punctuality and etiquette in the British press.
However, after Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, the situation was repeatedly reversed.
When Putin met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Iran last fall, the Russian president had to wait for Erdogan.
Putin clearly seemed uncomfortable and Erdogan’s decision was described as “revenge.”
PS! The characters “Vladimir” and “Estragon”, not to be confused with Vladimir Putin and Erdogan, waited in vain for “Godot” for 1 hour and 42 minutes in NRK television production of “Waiting for Godot” from 1965.
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