After months of setbacks on the battlefield in Ukraine, Russian Vladimir Putin apparently only has to demonstrate his tenacity by engaging in skirmishes with his own subordinates.
The Russian leader appeared to lose it briefly on Wednesday during a meeting with government officials. The breaking point came when Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov publicly corrected Putin after he complained that some companies had yet to win contracts to build new planes this year – a daunting task given that the country was cut off from many crucial western imports for construction.
Footage from the meeting shows Manturov quickly responding that “investment projects” were underway, but Putin interrupted him to complain that it was “taking too long”.
“There are no orders even for 2023 in some companies,” he said – only to be corrected again when Manturov told him that “all companies” had orders for the year and that “the Ministry of Defense has confirmed the number”.
Putin, trying to keep his cool, responded by insisting again that he was right and Manturov was wrong.
After the Minister of Trade and Industry corrected him a third time, the Russian president finally freaked out.
“Let’s get it over with, what’s the point of training here with you?” The directors told me [there are no contracts]. Really, why are you fooling around? he scolded Manturov, demanding that he get the job in a month and “not later”.
Russian state media appeared to take advantage of the confrontation to exaggerate Putin’s macho image, reporting on his bashing of Manturov but ignoring initial comments by the trade minister that there were in fact contracts for the year.
Putin also used the meeting to declare that all “problems” related to his so-called “special military operation” against Ukraine would soon be resolved.
In the same breath, he claimed that the country had suffered no fallout as a result of the war.
“Nothing our enemy predicted happened. And this, of course, is mainly thanks to Russian citizens, their composure, all our composure, our willingness to face challenges and work in difficult conditions.