Putin invites the UN secretary-general to sit at his 20-foot, 100,000-euro gold table

The comically large table that Vladimir Putin uses to welcome world leaders made a reappearance when the Russian dictator hosted UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for talks on the war in Ukraine.

The now-famous gargantuan table has been a feature of Putin’s televised engagements with world leaders – with many speculating the table is meant to enforce social distancing around the Covid-aware Russian president.

Russian dictator Putin hosted UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for talks on the ongoing war in Ukraine

Experts were struck by photos as Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron met to discuss the Ukraine crisis before the invasion, with some suggesting Mr Putin wanted to send a diplomatic message.

But two sources said after the February 7 meeting that Mr Macron had been asked to take a Covid test before meeting Mr Putin, but had refused one offered by the Russians for fear of obtaining his DNA.

The interior designer who built the table said that in today’s money it would cost up to 100,000 euros.

Entrepreneur Renato Pologna, who runs a business called ‘Oak’ in Cantù, Italy, also dismissed suggestions that the table was made with Covid-19 social distancing in mind, the Italian newspaper told Corriere that it was built 25 years ago.

The Russian president was pictured hosting a meeting with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron last week in the Kremlin, each seated at either end of the 20ft white and gold table.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also in turn met Putin as part of failed diplomatic attempts to calm the crisis in February, and was also pictured at the table.

The interior designer who built Vladimir Putin's now famous gargantuan table which he uses for a meeting with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron (pictured) said that in today's money it would cost up to 100,000 euros.

The interior designer who built Vladimir Putin’s now famous gargantuan table which he uses for a meeting with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron (pictured) said that in today’s money it would cost up to 100,000 euros.

Putin uses the tables for bilateral meetings with world leaders

Putin today met with UN Secretary General Guterres in Moscow

Putin uses the tables for bilateral meetings with world leaders and today met UN Secretary General Guterres in Moscow

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also met in turn Putin at the now famous table in Moscow

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also met in turn Putin at the now famous table in Moscow

Despite the importance of the talks, it was perhaps the table that attracted the most attention, with social media users quickly creating memes poking fun at the huge distance between the two leaders and the giant table.

But Mr Pologna was unfazed by this, telling the Italian newspaper he was delighted to see his work attracting so much attention.

“I recognized (the table) as soon as I saw it,” he said. ‘I’m proud of it, I’m always excited when I see that my work is in the background of something important. I hope it will bring luck against the war.

Asked about the memes, he said he found them “really funny”.

‘since someone turned it into a swing: great. Someone else put lap dance sticks on it. They even turned it into a curling rink. At this point, you can say that it is a table that develops creativity,” he told the newspaper.

He explained that the table is six meters long and two and a half meters wide (about 20 feet by 8.5 feet), is mostly made of oak and is very unique.

The designer called the piece “very difficult” to handle, with the accents on the table being made from gold leaf. The decorations on the top were also handmade.

The Russian president was pictured hosting a meeting with his French counterpart Emanuel Macron, each seated at either end of the 20ft white and gold table

The Russian president was pictured hosting a meeting with his French counterpart Emanuel Macron, each seated at either end of the 20ft white and gold table

The Russian president was pictured hosting a meeting with his French counterpart Emanuel Macron, each seated at either end of the 20ft white and gold table

When asked if it was built specifically for use during the pandemic, Mr Pologna dismissed the suggestion.

“It may be useful for this purpose, but the duration certainly has nothing to do with the pandemic. I did it 25 years ago!’ he said.

He said the table was just one part of a larger project he had been given, which involved furnishing the interior of one of the Kremlin buildings from 1995 to 1997.

The same building, he said, once hosted the G8 meetings in 1997, and his company designed marble furniture, floors, lighting, fireplaces, ceilings and wall finishes.

Asked about the price of the table, Mr Pologna said at the time that he was paid in Italian lira, which was officially replaced by the euro in 2002.

“I don’t remember the exact numbers. We always talk about lire and by heart I would say a few billion lire,” he said. In 1999, one euro was worth 1,936.27 lire.

As an estimate, he now said that the table would be worth 100,000 euros.

The designer clarifies that the Kremlin is not his only high-end client. He said many were international, adding that he had worked for others in Arab countries, such as “sheikhs and royal families” and the sultans of Malaysia.

“At some point I received orders from Gaddafi and Saddam’s family,” he said, but declined to divulge any further information to the Corriere.

The image of the talks between Putin and Macron in February was widely mocked on social media.

The photo, which shows the leaders seated several meters apart at either end of a long oval table in the Kremlin yesterday, was doctored to show Putin and Macron playing badminton, table tennis and hockey on air with the aim of “deciding the fate of Ukraine”. .

Other versions mocked Macron and Putin for not holding the talks via a zoom call because they would have been “closer” and suggested the couple sat further than the distance “between Russian troops and the Ukrainian border”.

Others showed Macron speaking into a megaphone so Putin could hear him from across the table, engaging in a Harry Potter-style duel and likening the meeting to a scene from The Incredibles.

Mr Pologna’s interview came as Russia said some of its troops were returning to base after exercises near Ukraine, and she scoffed at repeated warnings from the West of an imminent invasion .

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