20 October 2011
Studies in Posture: Battle of the Russian Machos Edition
For a short, bald guy, Putin holds up pretty well against the biker. Note that he keeps his chin down and looks up with his eyes, maintaining the strength of his presence. Just as the biker chief looks down with his eyes, rather than leaning down or inclining his head towards the politician. That way, he, too, maintains his strong position.
Putin has quite consciously built an impeccably crafted persona of a macho, a man's man. This is harder than it looks. For example, take John Kerry. He tried, and failed miserably. Putin, the spy, has an actor's sense of self-presentation that few politicians ever master.
It would be interesting to see him as a young KGB officer, working with the need to display just the exact amount of submission to his bureaucratic bosses while subtly asserting his ambition.