President Vladimir Putin always relished his global outings, burnishing his image as one of the big guns running the world.
While the Kremlin is dissing the International Criminal Court’s war crimes charges against him, inside the Kremlin walls another reality will be emerging. Putin’s world just got smaller.
At the Hamburg G20 in 2017 he spent hours talking alone with arguably the most powerful man in the world at that moment, former President Donald Trump.
A year later at the next G20 leader’s summit in Buenos Aires Putin high fived Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman less than two months after suspicion fell on the Saudi over the brutal murder journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Basking in international focus he could thumb his nose at the world, or manipulate its leaders, in person, a perk if you will of his stubborn, decades-long grip on power.