A veritable “diplomatic playground”. The small sentences of European leaders follow one another and the spectacle to which the powers of NATO and the executives of the Russian executive sometimes indulge is not always worthy of the seriousness of a war. Hostilities between heads of state began on Tuesday with a chivalrous exit from Boris Johnson. The British Prime Minister during an interview with the German television channel ZDF, had ventured to affirm that a woman in power in Moscow would not have invaded its Ukrainian neighbor. “War is a perfect example of male toxicity, he had begun before continuing his demonstration: If Putin were a woman, which he obviously is not, really I don’t think he would have embarked on this crazy macho war”. The leader ended up calling on young girls to seize positions of power.
But “BoJo” did not stop there by attacking the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova. The exit of the leader ignoring the feminist awakening lesson he had just undertaken: “She threatens everyone with the nuclear bomb and what not. She is as crazy as him [Putin].” The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, in reaction, pointed to the “goujaterie” of the British representative.
But it was above all a conversation between leaders of NATO member countries broadcast on social networks that made Vladimir Putin react in person, engaging the continent in a competition of flowery words which many would undoubtedly have passed. Gathered in Madrid for a summit of the transatlantic alliance, Justin Trudeau or Ursula von der Leyen made fun of their Russian counterpart.
In a general burst of laughter, Boris Johnson urged his partners “to show the pecs” to Vladimir Putin. “Show that we are stronger in the photo”. An allusion to the clichés of the Russian president riding a horse shirtless, in the early 2010s, which had gone around the world. Justin Trudeau then hastened to call on his counterparts to ride bare-chested. Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz, Joe Biden or Ursula von der Leyen found themselves hilarious around the round table.
Vladimir Putin then took NATO leaders at their word, calling on them to “undress”… Quoted by the Russian newspaper Gazeta.ru, he attacked their physical appearance: “I know the leaders of the G7 personally. Our relations are not at their best, that’s clear. Nevertheless, they are leaders, with a strong character, who are capable, if they want to, of achieving their objective. But, for that, it is you have to work on yourself.”
The former KGB official took the opportunity to talk about … his body, quoting Alexander Pushkin: “You can be a man of action and not forget to take care of your nails.” All this before offering a verse that sounds like lessons in personal development: “Everything must be developed organically in the human being, the soul as well as the body. But for everything to be in harmony, you have to give up the alcohol abuse and other bad habits, physical exercise, sports.”