Vladimir Putin is single again, and he was at this summit yesterday sitting next to the Chinese premier's wife. The bureaucrat behind that seating arrangement is probably already in a concrete cell eating a Makarov sandwich, seeing how Putin tried to convince the first lady that Russian bears need cuddling, too.
— SCMP VideoMoJo (@SCMPVideoMoJo) November 11, 2014
At an APEC event held on the evening of Nov. 10 at the Water Cube, the resplendent aquatic stadium constructed for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Putin was seated next to Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan, who in turn sat next to her husband, Chinese President Xi Jinping.
That's a seating arrangement Xi may now regret.
While Xi was distracted talking to U.S. President Barack Obama, who was sitting on his right, Russia's tiger-shooting, horseback-riding president made his move. After a brief exchange — you can almost imagine Peng making appropriately cliché small talk like "my, isn't it chilly in here" — Putin abruptly stood up, grasped a tan coat in both hands, and wrapped it chivalrously around the first lady's shoulders. She smiled gracefully, thanked him, and sat down — only to surreptitiously slip the coat from her shoulders moments later into the waiting arms of an attendant.
Sounds innocent, right? Nah bro, Putin was clearly getting his international diplomatic fuck game on:
Not convinced? The Chinese certainly were, given how quickly the video spread on social media—and how swiftly state censors swooped in to cleanse the web of references to Putin's mack move, according to FP. So excited were Western observers that Vox definitively explained the Putin-Peng peccadillo with 17 questions that it couldn't be bothered to answer.
What's so hard to explain about a shirt-spurning KGB muscleman wanting to take bilateral relations to the next level in this Shanghai cooperation organization? If invading personal space is a Crimea, then let Putin be guilty.
[Photo credit: AP Images]