VORONEZH — If any foreigner deserves credit for President Vladimir Putin's rise to power, then perhaps it is Allan Pease, an Australian authority on body language who calls Putin "a very clever and capable student."
Pease, a best-selling author who is known internationally as "Mr. Body Language," first met the future president in 1991 when he was invited to the Kremlin to host a seminar for up-and-coming politicians including Putin, then a 39-year-old former KGB officer responsible for promoting international relations and foreign investments at St. Petersburg City Hall.
Also at the seminar was Putin's boss, St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak.
"At that time, our entourage was seven people, and everyone looked rude and severe, carrying guns. It was both scary and exciting" Pease, who at 61 is the same age as Putin, said in an interview.
"I taught them how to look friendlier on television and how to exclude aggressive gestures. Mr. Putin, the assistant to the mayor of St. Petersburg at that time, was a very clever and capable student, by the way," he said.
More: The Aussie Who Taught Putin Body Language | Business | The Moscow Times