Russian President Vladimir Putin got after a group of officials in Siberia for removing their hoods and hats while on a teleconference with him on Sunday, November 29. The officials were standing outside in sub-zero weather, but despite the cold and the president’s urging, they kept their heads uncovered for the duration of the meeting.
During a teleconference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the mayor of Usolye-Sibirskoye, a town in the Irkutsk region of Russian Siberia, not only removed his hat but also threw it away.
This wouldn’t be a newsworthy event if not for the weather: the video meeting took place outdoors on the night of Sunday, November 29, when it was 20 degrees below zero (-4 degrees Fahrenheit). During the meeting, Usolye-Sibirskoye mayor, Maxim Toropkin, was joined by Deputy Prime Minister Viktoria Abramchenko, Presidential Envoy to the Siberian Federal District Sergey Menyaylo, and Irkutsk Regional Governor Igor Kobzev.
When Putin appeared on screen, the officials removed their hoods and hats simultaneously. But this sign of respect only sparked the president’s worries about the cold. “You shouldn’t take off your hats there. Put on your hats. I’ll say it again! Put on your hats. It’s cold, your ears will freeze. Seriously, get dressed. No really, you’re not sick yet,” the Russian president told them. Nevertheless, the officials ignored Putin’s request: Abramchenko didn’t put her hood back up and the others maintained solidarity.
After the teleconference finished, Toropkin explained why he threw his hat away as follows: “The state’s top official, broadcast live. Yes, it was in fact cold. But in principle, you can tolerate half an hour. We’re Siberians after all.”
A clip of the meeting with the president was shown on the program “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin.” The program’s author, Pavel Zarubin, put forward his own theory as to why the officials didn’t cover their heads: it was all because of the president’s own ability to resist the cold — he walks around without a hat in all types of weather.