Mixed responses: What is it like to ‘wear Putin’ in NYC? (VIDEO)
Ahead of the Russian leader’s arrival in New York, an RT correspondent has experienced how time flies and the mood on the streets changes. Wearing a t-shirt with Time magazine’s cover from 2007, when Vladimir Putin was named “person of the year,” the image provoked very mixed responses.
While many passers-by just smiled at the choice of the outfit or even commented that they “liked this shirt,” being captured next to the Russian leader's face appeared to be a real issue for some. Not even noticing the portrait at first, some New Yorkers then realized it was “a problem” to be part of such a selfie.
One person who did not mind it at all was a garbage man in NYC, who happily posed next to the RT reporter, saying that he'd never seen the man depicted “a day in his life.”
The real battle of the t-shirts happened at an anti-Putin protest, organized in New York on Monday ahead of the Russian president's address to the UN General Assembly. With some of the demonstrators wearing shirts bearing anti-Putin images and slogans, RT’s Ilya Petrenko was an outcast at the rally in his attire. “You don't belong here,” RT was told. Some got quite hysterical while the crew was filming the rally, refusing to talk to the reporter and screaming that “Russia lies all the time.”
Chanting "Glory to Ukraine," the protesters – American, Ukrainian and LGBT rights activists among them – depicted Putin with Hitler mustache and hairstyle using the same Time cover image. During the rally, demonstrators also glued former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili’s image into the center of a heart and demanded “Russian army out of Syria.”
Anti-Russia performances were staged not only near the UN headquarters, but also inside.
During Putin's speech at the General Assembly, the whole Ukrainian delegation left the hall. Ukraine’s UN ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations bragged on Twitter that a torn Ukrainian flag from the Donetsk region was unfolded on the hall's balcony “for Putin to see.”
At the same time, Ukraine’s UN delegate rejected any criticism of the groups’s disgraceful behavior and asked “angry Russian trolls” not to “litter the air” with their comments.
The Russian delegation was accused the day before of a similar demarche, when some media outlets reported that the entire delegation left the hall during Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s speech. However, it was only Russia’s Security Council envoy Vitaly Churkin who walked out, according to Ria Novosti. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was not in the audience because he was awaiting his turn to take to the stage in a special waiting room, while most of the delegation members listened to the speech.