6 Bizarre Moments During Vladimir Putin's UN General Assembly Speech That'll Make You Say "Whaaaat?"
On Monday, leaders and heads of state from around the world convened in New York City for the 70th United Nations General Assembly. However, no world leader drummed up as much buzz ahead of time as Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was scheduled to speak at the diplomatic event for the first time since 2005. Given all that has transpired in the last 10 years — Russia's ongoing military intervention in Ukraine, the Syrian Civil War, and the rise of ISIS, for starters — the public expected Putin to have much to say on the state of the world. Perhaps what they didn't expect were all the truly bizarre moments from Putin's U.N. General Assembly speech.
During his much-anticipated speech, Putin touched on topics such as ISIS, climate change and the refugee crisis. Notoriously authoritative and uncompromising, Putin did not mince words when it came to other leaders' shortcomings. Commenting on the decisions that led to instability in Iraq and Syria, which then gave rise to ISIS, Putin said, "I cannot help asking those who have forced that situation: Do you realize what you have done?"
While this was a truly unforgettable sound bite, some of the even better moments weren't from the speech at all. Take a look at all the bizarre things that happened during Putin's U.N. speech.
Putin Compared ISIS To Hitler
The fight against ISIS and global terrorism was a main focus in Putin's speech, during which he called for a "genuinely broad alliance against terrorism, just like the one against Hitler." He urged the U.N. Security Council to draft a resolution for something "similar to the anti-Hitler coalition," and suggested that the U.S. set aside its differences with Russia and join in the effort. When two countries hardly agree on anything, bring in the big guns: their shared loathing of Hitler.
Putin's Adorable Polka-Dot Tie
For a man whose image conjures bare-chested horseback riding and bear wrestling, it was a bit shocking that Putin wore a quite chic tie, which could have come from Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's closet.
The Mid-Speech Translator Switch-Up
About halfway through his speech, the translator, who was audibly out of breath as she struggled to keep up with Putin's rapid talking, was replaced by another translator, who took on the task until his speech was over. It was awkward.
Members Of The Ukrainian Delegation Walked Out
Just before Putin stepped onto the stage, several members of the Ukrainian delegation left the assembly hall in protest. But to further convey their message, they also held up a bullet-hole-ridden Ukrainian flag that had been in the battle at Illovaisk.
Obama's Preemptive Retort
President Obama spoke earlier in the day, and his speech sounded somewhat like a preemptive strike against Putin. Especially this part, which has Putin's name written all over it:
Effectively, they argue for a return to the rules that applied for most of human history and that predate this institution: The belief that power is a zero-sum game; that might makes right; that strong states must impose their will on weaker ones; that the rights of individuals don’t matter; and that in a time of rapid change, order must be imposed by force.
Putin's Coy Smile
Putin's smile is already as rare and fleeting as a shooting star. But when the Russian president forms a shy schoolgirl smile, as if the cutest boy in class just asked him to the dance, it might signify some monumental events ahead. We should all look forward to world peace ... or brace for total global annihilation.