Even though Russian President Vladimir Putin and the United States President Barak Obama were toasting one another and even though they sat down for formal talks for the first time in two years to discuss the Syrian situation, there was no love lost between them when they attended the UN Summit. These photos illustrate how the body does not lie. While they may have agreed on various points, their body language was icy.
In the above photo where they are toasting, Obama leans away from Putin. He wears a lot of tension on his forehead and tightness in his jaw, which shows anger. While Putin tried to show a pleasant smile, he is not fooling anyone. His smile is not genuine as his lips are pursed. There is no teeth showing and the apples of his cheeks are not raised. It shows that he too is harboring anger towards Obama, even though he tries to not show it.
Then after their formal meetings, they did an obligatory photo op for the press which only lasted 13 seconds. They both could not wait to get away from one another, Their handshake validates their mutual disdain as Obama ties to fake a smile, but his lower jaw is tight as his lips are pursed with anger. His body is stiff. There is a large gap between them, distance wise, which illustrates the distance they are feeling with one another. Putin is not smiling and this time, he is finding it difficult to eek out a phony smile for the camera. His true feelings towards Obama are reflected on his face.
When you look at their hands, you see a lot of tension their grip which indicates that no doubt a power grip was taking place in terms of showing who had the stronger handshake.
Before they actually shook hands you can see Obama looking down and his shoulders a bit hunched as he dreaded what he had to do. Yet he was the first to reach of his hand. Putin appears to be giving Obama the literal “cold shoulder” as the shoulder which is closest to Obama is raised and his head is cocked. This too indicates that he is not too thrilled about having to do this photo op and making like everything is fine between them, when it is anything but fine.
Finally their dreaded Press conference is over and Obama is two paces ahead of Putin as with a sour puss,indicating he can’t get away quickly enough .Putin follows behind with an equally sour puss expression, indicating that the feeling is mutual. Obama seems to be walking quickly as he heads toward the exist while Putin keeps his distance.
Here is Obama days earlier when he was with the President of China Xi Jinping. There is a stark difference between Obama’s reaction to Putin and his reaction to Xi. Look at Obama’s genuine smile with his cheeks raised, his eyes crinkled and his teeth showing. He is also leaning in towards XI and Xi is doing the same. Xi also shows a genuine like towards Obama as he too exhibits a genuine smile and leans in towards Obama.