Putin impersonator beats real president in Geneva


GENEVA, June 15 (Reuters) – A day before Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Geneva for a historic summit with US President Joe Biden, a lookalike was spotted in the Swiss city during a protest calling for liberation of the Kremlin criticizes Alexei Navalny.

Shirtless and dressed in military pants to mimic summer vacation photos of the real Russian president, protester Alexander Lyubuschin donned a Putin face mask and sat on a bench in a sunny Geneva square, Vodka neck pretending.

When asked if he expected a good result from the summit scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at a nearby lakeside villa, the imitator replied: “Of course. Otherwise, I’ll cut off all the gas. and oil. “

On the bench next to him was a fake pistol and a mock-up vial of the nerve agent Novichok, which German medics say was used to poison Navalny last year in Siberia.

The Kremlin denies claims it ordered the poisoning.

Nearby, a few dozen demonstrators shouted for Navalny’s release from a Russian prison where he is serving a 2.5-year sentence.

They chanted “Russia without Putin” alongside a poster of Navalny signing a heart – a copy of a mural that appeared on a street in central Geneva a few days ago.

A senior US official said the Biden administration will raise human rights at the summit where nuclear weapons and ransomware are also on the agenda, but did not say whether that includes the case of Navalny. Read more

Geneva hosts the UN Human Rights Council and is a hub of activism. Navalny’s daughter last week accepted a “moral courage” award on her father’s behalf at a virtual event hosted by the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. Read more

Maria Knyazeva, a protester, said she hoped Biden would raise Navalny’s case directly with Putin.

“I understand that strategic issues must come first, but if Biden and other Western leaders don’t stand up for human rights, who will?” she said.

Additional reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Emma Farge Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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