Reason why Putin is always late as Russia’s leader has left Queen and Pope waiting


Russian President Vladimir Putin has got himself a bit of a reputation for terrible time keeping.

Since the beginning of his presidency, Putin is known for keeping other world leaders waiting.

Sometimes hours late, Russia’s leader does not seem to care how important you are as he has even been late when meeting The Queen and The Pope.

The leader, who started Russia’s war on Ukraine at the end of lat month, has seen his poor time keeping being “legendary”, so much so that being half an hour behind is seen as a “mark of deepest respect”.

However, Putin never seems to be late for TV press conferences and set-piece events – reports The Mirror.

So what is the reason for Putin’s lateness? An inability to keep track of time or is there a more sinister reason?



Putin was late for his meeting with The Queen back in 2003.

During a state visit to the UK in 2003, Putin left the palace feeling rather anxious when he turned up 14 minutes late to meet the Queen.

Then in 2004, he disrespectfully kept the parents of children killed in a plane crash waiting for his arrival at a cemetery for two hours.

And after making Pope Francis wait for 50 minutes during their first meeting in 2013, Putin decided to extend his record and keep the head of the Catholic Church hanging around for even longer the second time.

In 2015, Putin arrived at the Vatican for an hour and 20 minutes overdue after spending time in Milan with the Italian Premier Matteo Renzi.

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Papal courtiers were reportedly “shivering” outside in the cold November weather as they awaited the Russian President’s arrival – and he then made the unusual move of instructing his staff to explain exactly why he was late.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told Russian journalists that it was not done to deliberately keep the Pope on edge.



Pope Francis (R) meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a private audience at the Vatican, on November 25, 2013
The Russian President left The Pope waiting for an hour and 20 minutes.

“It’s true that the meeting with the pope happened a little after the planned time,” he explained at the time.

“This was because talks in Milan went on longer than expected and our motorcade was quite slow moving through the streets of Milan and Rome. Of course, during the whole time we kept in touch with the Vatican and explained our lateness.”

He doesn’t mind offending the Americans either as US secretary of state John Kerry was kept waiting in Moscow for three hours in 2012 and had to take a walk in the Red Square.

While President Obama had to delay his plans by 40 minutes in the same year as Putin was supposedly running late.

But the longest wait on record has to go to former German chancellor Angela Merkel, who had to wait an agonizing four hours and 15 minutes.

Following close behind is former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych with four hours, while the leaders of Belarus and Japan have been forced to twiddle their thumbs for three hours.

It’s not something new though as Putin’s ex-wife, Lyudmila Putina, said she was left in tears when he failed to turn up on time to one of their first dates.

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“I was never late, but Vladimir Vladimirovich always was. An hour and a half was normal,” she said.

“I remember standing around in the metro. The first 15 minutes of lateness are OK, half an hour also fine. But when an hour goes by and he’s still not there, you start crying.”

Many believe Putin’s poor timekeeping is part of his psychological games, as he has proven he does show up when expected at press conferences and TV interviews.

Political commentator Dmitriy Abramov said Putin’s “affected lateness” is “born of a desire to demonstrate that he occupies a ‘tsar’s place’ in world politics, as in the heyday of the Russian empire”.

However, others are more sympathetic and claim it’s actually because he like to do thorough research just before a high-level meeting.

An anonymous source quoted by Moscow daily newspaper Moskovskij Komsomolets said: “Before important meetings he often double-checks sources of information, delves into things, as a result he gets behind schedule.”

One of Putin’s most inexcusable delays was keeping The Queen waiting for a whole 14 minutes.

Everything Her Majesty does is timed to perfection and she is not used to be kept waiting, so it was especially bold of the Russian leader.

The Queen has met Putin on a number of occasions – with their most eventful meeting coming during his state visit to the UK in 2003.

Having been left waiting for nearly a quarter of an hour, there was then an incident where the Queen may have broken royal protocol.

It is alleged that she took a hilariously brutal swipe at Putin with a very clever remark because of a dog’s reaction to the Russian Leader.

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According to David Blunkett, who was Home Secretary at the time, his guide dog was acting defensively towards Putin when he walked past.

“The only time I met Vladimir Putin was back in 2003 on an official visit and my then dog barked very loudly,” Mr Blunkett told the BBC.

“I did apologize to the Queen who was obviously hosting. I don’t think I am giving anything away when I said, ‘Sorry your Majesty about the dog barking.’

“She said, ‘Dogs have interesting instincts, don’t they?'”

The hilarious alleged remark would be a break from royal protocol, as The Queen is usually expected to remain “strictly neutral with respect to political matters”.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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