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Vladimir Putin: - The old photo draws attention

Vladimir Putin: – The old photo draws attention

For years, former White House chief photographer Pete Souza has photographed US presidents in meetings with other powerful figures.

In 1998, former President Ronald Reagan photographed with the then-leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. One of the photos shows Gorbachev and Reagan during a tour of Red Square in Moscow, where many other people were present.

Here is the photo that is attracting attention now, 33 years later – is the man in a striped shirt, with a side parting and a camera around his neck, Russian President Vladimir Putin as a young man?

I received a letter in the mail

In 1993, Souza published Unguarded Moments with photographs from his time in the White House under the Reagan administration.

“Ten years later, I got a random letter in the mail from someone who asked if I knew I had taken a picture of Reagan and Vladimir Putin — who then became president of Russia,” the photographer wrote in Instagram posts Tuesday.

He made the photographer scratch his head.

– the spy

In 2009, he was appointed as the Obama administration’s photographer. A few days before the presidential inauguration, the US news agency NRP gave an interview to Souza.

In a conversation about the importance of presidential photos and how they might change over time, Souza used the photo from Moscow as an example.

– Once you see the picture now, you think “Oh, it’s really him,” he said.

– But what should I say, Souza writes on Instagram, adding that it led to great discussions.

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Barely a month after the NRP interview, Souza received a new letter. In the envelope was a 1998 photo with a red ring around the man in the striped shirt. Next to it was written “Spy”.

It is known that Putin worked in the KGB intelligence service in Berlin at this time

– I handed the letter to the intelligence service, but it did not work, he writes.


The two letters shocked the experienced photographer.

For a long time he had been trying to find out who the guy in the striped shirt actually was, but no one was able to confirm his identity.

Putin’s spokesman had previously said he was not the Russian president. However, the photographer himself is convinced that it was Putin who snuck into the photo with Gorbachev in 1998 – but why this is still a mystery.