Incoherent Putin forced to ‘egg himself on’ during rambling Victory speech

Putin appears to limp amidst speculation over his health

Russian President Vladimir Putin appeared “incongruent” and “contradictory” during his speech at Russia’s traditional Victory Day parade on Moscow’s Red Square, according to a body language expert. Judi James told the Russian leader ought to show himself as a “defender” during his speech in the Russian capital. But she argued that looking at Putin from the side, he sent “contradictory” signals compared to the defiant image of himself he wanted to come across.

She said: “It’s important to remember that Putin is trying to present himself verbally and visually as a defender here and that his body language performance is presumably designed to echo that idea.

“He uses the word ‘defend’ twice, along with ‘terrorism’ and ‘the war against us’.

“His body pose is not dissimilar to Zelensky’s then, which could be deliberate. Even though they are hidden behind the lectern, there is a suggestion of a leg splay in the way his body is balanced and the way his weight moves from one foot to another. His chest is also splayed and puffed.

“Moving from one foot to another as he does is a ‘bracing ritual’ that can suggest a preparation to fight. His shoulders do a diagonal shoulder-shimmy and his torso bristles, which can suggest a state of aggressive arousal.”

Ms James said Putin looked as though he was “egging himself on”.

She added: “His left elbow also pumps against his ribs at one point, in a self-motivational gesture as though he is egging himself on. His frown looks fixed.

“The side view does show a slightly new behaviour though, which is where his chin, rather than being held up to echo the defiance, is pulled down and into his neck and his top lip appears to pull downward to form a mouth clamp after his words. This looks like a contradictory signal to the other ‘fight’ signals, giving a more incongruent set of messages.”

In his speech, Putin said the West’s “untamed ambitions, arrogance and impunity” are driving “a real war” against Russia, while the Kremlin’s forces fired another cruise missile barrage at Ukraine.

READ MORE: Putin scales back Victory parade as 21 Russian cities cancel events

The Russian leader argued it is the West that is “cancelling the results one World War 2” causing a “tragedy” in Ukraine.

Responding to his accusations, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “There is only one person who is responsible for the illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and that is President Putin. The crimes that are being committed are appalling.

“The suffering that is being inflicted on the Ukrainian people is appalling.

“That is why it is right that we remain steadfast in supporting the people of Ukraine to stand up to that aggression. That’s what I and the United Kingdom will continue to do.”

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