Vladimir Putin got a soaking in Moscow yesterday when the skies opened during a ceremony to commemorate the Nazi invasion of Russia during the Second World War.
The President stood alone in the downpour looking stoically at a floral tribute on June 22, also known as the Day of Memory and Sorrow, which marks the moment that Hitler broke his allegiance with Stalin.
Russian efforts to stop the ensuing Nazi Blitzkrieg and recapture lost territory would ultimately cost 26million lives, including many citizens who starved to death.
Events to remember Russia’s role and sacrifices in the Second World War have taken on special significance under Putin’s regime, which relies on nationalistic pride to reinforce his popularity and grip on power.
While many in the crowd carried umbrellas to the event, Putin seemed to choose to go without, instead standing grim-faced in the pounding rain.
Dmitry Medvedev, his Prime Minister, also went without shelter.
The pair were eventually provided with umbrellas as they watched the military parade across Alexander Garden, alongside the Kremlin wall, where the memorial is located.