Accessibility links

Breaking News

The Daily Vertical: Putin Meets The World He Created (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

Vladimir Putin just got a little taste of the world he created.

He got pomp and circumstance amid the opulent splendor of Versailles.

And he got a public dressing down from French President Emmanuel Macron.

The 39-year-old French leader berated the 64-year-old KGB veteran about election meddling, the conflict in Syria, and LGBT rights in Russia.

He even used an exhibition of Peter the Great, the ostensible reason for Putin's visit, to take a jab at the Kremlin leader.

Tsar Peter I, Macron slyly noted, was a "symbol of a Russia that wanted to open up to Europe."

The implication was clear: You, Mr. Putin, are no Peter the Great.

WATCH Today's Daily Vertical

As Christopher Dickey wrote in The Daily Beast, "the wily KGB veteran, the intruder into the West's democratic elections, the smug defender of dictators...looked like he wanted to hide behind the curtains in the Hall of Battles at Versailles."

But the big takeaway from yesterday's meeting wasn't just that Macron appeared to own Putin, and it wasn't just that a man who campaigned as an unapologetic Europhile essentially read the riot act to the patron of Europe's xenophobes.

The thing we need to remember is that this is France!

This is the country that has long been Russia's best friend in Europe.

This is the country that Moscow has long counted on to fight in its corner.

And Putin has turned it into a fierce critic.

Welcome, Mr. Putin, to the world you've created.

Keep telling me what you think on The Power Vertical's Twitter feed and on our Facebook page.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

If you are in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia or the Russia-controlled parts of Ukraine, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.