Putin put on sad display but split second exposed feelings of success – expert

Vladimir Putin broke his silence the presumed death of Yevgeny Prigozhin on Thursday, expressing his “mourning for a close friend” in a televised address.

However, the Russian President betrayed how he really felt about the Wagner leader’s alleged death, one body language expert has claimed.

Yesterday, it emerged that the Wagner mercenary boss was one of 10 on board a private plane that exploded mid-air, with Wagner Group co-founder Dmitriy Utkin also on the flight.

While Prigozhin has not been confirmed dead, agencies and now the Russian leader have paid tributes to him.

Speaking today, Putin said: “He made some serious mistakes in life, but he also achieved necessary results.”

Judi James told Daily Express US his body language showed him perform “several signs of pain and sorrow”.

Speaking to Daily Express US, Ms. James said of Putin: “Posed straight-on to camera with a page of photographs on the desk in front of him, he performs several signs of pain and sorrow as he speaks in a soft, low voice that seems intended to imply personal grief and loss.

“Both his hands are out on the desk, fingers down and a dramatic wince of pain crosses his face as he speaks.

“He looks down in a cut-off gesture and there is a clearing of the throat as though his voice is affected by sorrow.

“There are long pauses and some reflective eye-gazes and even a large sigh, complete with a heaving chest. He even sucks his lips in which is a gesture of regret.”

However, in an interesting twist, Ms James noted: “The one cue at odds with all this emphatic, portrayed sadness is his right thumb, which is cocked.

“A cocked or erect thumb is usually associated with success and confidence.”

Almost all experts and commentators believe that Prigozhin was killed in a plot orchestrated by Putin’s Government, as officials believe an onboard explosion caused his death.

Mykola Volkivskyi, former advisor to Ukraine’s parliament told Daily Express US that “the possible death of Prigozhin is not a surprise to anyone, it was just a matter of time”.

When asked if he thought Prigozhin’s death was an assassination ordered by Putin, Mr Volkivskyi added: “If NATO is now pursuing a policy of ‘open doors’, Putin and Russia continue the policy of ‘open windows’ – when [his] opponents die from car or plane crashes or end their lives by suicide.”

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Before co-founding the Wagner Group with Utkin in 2014, Prigozhin met Putin while he was a restauranteur, earning the nickname ‘Putin’s chef’.

Prigozhin, born on June 1, 1961, in Leningrad, long denied having any involvement in the group until late 2022 when he publicly confirmed his role.

Back in June, after months of frustrations with Russia’s Defence Ministry, Prigozhin lashed out at Moscow and launched a brief insurrection against Putin.

On June 24, Prigozhin said his forces had taken control of the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don, seizing the headquarters of Russia’s Southern Military District, and had began driving a column of vehicles towards Moscow.

Just hours later, with the column less than 100 miles from Moscow, Prigozhin said the mutiny had ended.

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