Kremlin coup: Eton schoolboys score a private meeting with Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin has kept Queen Elizabeth and the Pope waiting but recently found time to meet a group of students from Britain’s elite Eton school, the Kremlin said Thursday.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin held an hour-long audience with students from the school about a week ago.
He said a Russian Orthodox monk Archimandrite Tikhon, who acts as the president’s spiritual adviser, set up the meeting after giving a speech at the world-famous boarding school.
“It was an absolutely private visit by the boys and the meeting was not public,” Peskov told journalists, saying Putin took part in “an open discussion”.
“It was interesting for both the president and for the boys but it would be wrong to give more details as it really was a private conversation which was not intended to be publicised.”
British media has reported on the unlikely encounter after some of the students involved posted pictures of themselves meeting Putin and posing in the Kremlin.
One of the students, Trenton Bricken - who apparently finished his time at Eton this summer - wrote on Facebook that Putin was “small in person but not in presence”, posting a picture of him shaking the Russian strongman’s hand.
Eton student David Wei said on social media that the meeting was arranged after sending more than 1,000 emails.
Old Etonians include Prince William and Oscar-winning actor Eddie Redmayne as well as former Prime Minister David Cameron - who fell out with Putin over the crisis in Ukraine - and current foreign minister Boris Johnson.
The meeting with the public schoolboys came ahead of Putin’s first encounter with new British leader Theresa May at the G20 in China - with both sides saying they are interested in improving the dire relations between their two countries.