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Mr. Reagan, Meet Mr. Putin

Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library
Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library
Hey! Who's that dour-looking dude on the left?

There's a 20-year-old photo making the rounds on the tubes showing U.S. President Ronald Reagan taking a stroll through Red Square during his May 1988 visit to Moscow.

In the photo, Reagan was approached by a group of "tourists" -- who were in reality KGB members and their families -- who asked him about human rights in the United States.

Reagan's photographer, Pete Souza, told NPR in January that he has confirmed that the blonde-haired man in the striped shirt on the left was none other than Vladimir Putin, then a KGB colonel.

You can listen to Souza, who is now U.S. President Barack Obama's official photographer, talk about the photo by clicking the audio link in the NPR story here.

And then decide for yourself whether it really is Putin.

UPDATE: Compare with photos of young Putin and Putin with family.

-- Brian Whitmore

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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