Why does Russian President Vladimir Putin have three old telephones on his desk? That question circulated on social media after Putin delivered a speech at his desk the day before yesterday.
“They are afraid to replace these devices with something modern, which is not Russian-made, but Japanese or Chinese and which may contain something that one does not want,” said correspondent in Russia, Geert Groot Koerkamp, on Radio 1.
Russian President Putin delivered a lengthy speech on Monday about the escalating situation on the border with Ukraine after recognizing the so-called People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Footage from that speech shows the president sitting at his desk. A computer, plants, a lamp, and no fewer than three old telephones are on his desk. On social media, people wondered why Putin uses such old telephones.
“No one knows how old they are”, correspondent Geert Groot Koerkamp told Radio 1 “Nieuwe Feiten”. “These are models that date from Soviet times”. The correspondent says that they are not alone in Putin’s cabinet but in all the “high-ranking Russian officials” cabinets.
If they replace the devices with something not made by Russia but made by Japan or China, “there could be anything you don’t want,” the correspondent knows. “Apparently, that is why people are clinging to those old models.” But “this is what we see, behind the scenes there may have been some modernization”, says Koerkamp.
“The telephones are part of a separate telephone exchange for high-level connections,” says Koerkamp. According to the correspondent, when Putin picks up the phone, he will immediately hear a voice asking who he wants to be put through. “There is also a device somewhere in the house for a direct connection to the President of the United States because that direct contact has also been around for a long time.”
Putin certainly does not have a modern smartphone; that is what the president himself claims. “We have never seen him with a smartphone,” said Koerkamp. “Other members of the government do have a smartphone. But they are said to have to hand it in when there is a high-level consultation.”
The Russian president would also not be very sympathetic to the new media. “In Vladivostok, a boy with his own channel on YouTube asked Putin to subscribe to his channel. Putin didn’t know what to do and said he was going to think about it. That is very indicative of the way Putin stands in this technological age. Kurkamp concludes.