The story of Putin, as told by those in the room with him

Samuel Lovett speaks to diplomats, political aides, journalists and academics who have all met Putin over the past 22 years and witnessed his evolution

Tuesday 17 May 2022 09:37
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<p>Only a small minority of westerners can claim to have observed and engaged with the Russian president</p>

Only a small minority of westerners can claim to have observed and engaged with the Russian president

As an autocrat who has kept himself at arm’s length from the west for much of his administration, Vladimir Putin is a difficult man to get close to. Outside of the inner circle of Kremlin officials, oligarchs and Russian strongmen, there are few individuals who have shared a room with him. However, there is a small minority of westerners that can claim to have observed and engaged with the Russian president in close quarters, developing a rare first-hand impression of Putin.

These diplomats, political aides, journalists and academics have all met Putin on numerous occasions over the past 22 years, witnessing the evolution of a man and mind that, through the invasion of Ukraine, has come to reshape the modern world.

Here, The Independent tells their stories:

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