AN excruciating photo op showcased Vladimir Putin's "Napoleon Complex" today after he was dwarfed by his Russian puppet leaders.
The 5ft 7in tyrant hosted a grand signing ceremony at the Kremlin as he welcomed four stolen regions of Ukraine to Russia in the biggest land grab since World War Two.
Putin formally inked decrees declaring Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to be Russian territory following a series of sham referendums.
He droned on for nearly an hour in a rambling speech before he joined hands with the separatist leaders of the regions in a bizarre ritual and chanted "Russia! Russia!"
And at just 5ft 7in tall – three inches smaller than the average Russian – Putin's diminutive stature was laid bare during the ceremony at the Great Kremlin Palace as the leaders towered over him.
Experts claim his short height might explain the dictator's maniacal behaviour – showcased at Friday's signing ceremony with a long, rambling, nonsensical diatribe to a glum-looking crowd.
Read more on Vladimir Putin
Putin tells annexed Ukrainians they’re ‘Russian citizens forever’ in formal speech
Putin’s health is ‘dramatically deteriorating & it’s impacted his judgement’
The image-conscious Russian despot could join Napoleon, Hitler, and Stalin as failed leaders whose short stature is thought to have provoked bloody conflict in Europe.
Evolutionary psychologists Professor Abraham Buunk and Professor Mark van Vugt argue Putin – who has been reported to be as small as 5ft 2in – suffers a bad case of Napoleon Complex.
It is a psychological phenomenon thought to have been experienced by the French emperor, who was often depicted as being short.
The theory goes that some insecure smaller men tend to be more aggressive and domineering and seek ruthless means to assert their power over others.
Most read in News
Cops dig for Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett as 'child's skull' found
Urgent manhunt as convicted murderer escapes from prison for SECOND time
Tributes to 'beautiful' woman, 21, who died 'accidentally' inside hotel room
Man, 34, arrested on suspicion of murder after Olivia, 9, gunned down at home
And it looks like the deeply self conscious Putin is exhibiting tell-tale symptoms.
Putin has often been snapped seemingly wearing chunky high heeled shoes, and potentially even wearing lifts to boost his height.
Prof van Vugt said short men suffering the complex generally feel very threatened and will double down if provoked.
He told The Sun Online: "He wants to come across as a strong leader.
"The way he poses for the camera, all these pictures of him bare chested, playing ice-hockey, hunting.
"They are all the kind of things you see in someone who is not secure in their power position and that may be the result of his short stature – the more dominant, authoritarian kind of strategies to be taken seriously."
Prof van Vugt said the tyrant's Napoleon Complex extends to his views of Russia has a whole – and "his short stature doesn’t help in the emotional decisions he needs to make".
The expert said: "The Napoleon Complex applies both to his short stature but also the tactics of a country with a leader who knows they have lost a place in the world as a superpower and want to get that back so they revert to these sorts of tactics because they feel that they are neglected or ignored."
Prof Buunk backs up the claims, adding Putin also fits the bill when its comes to his paranoia about the West and NATO.
"He is more paranoid than tall people because, as a short person, he can see all types of dangers because he would have always felt threatened by tall people around him and needed to do something to attain status and power," the academic said.
In his speech to Russian politicians and dignitaries on Friday, Putin vowed to "defend our land with all means" – and said the people living in the stolen Ukrainian regions are "our citizens forever".
"People living in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson region and Zaporizhzhia region are becoming our citizens forever," he said.
"We will defend our land with all our strength and all our means."
In one bizarre remark during his speech, Putin claimed the "collective West is afraid of our philosophy and that's why they try to assassinate our philosophers".
He also held a minute silence for the "heroes of Russia" who have died in his disastrous invasion and stood up against what he called a "Neo-Nazi coup" in Ukraine in 2014.
In his delusional rant, Putin lashed out at the "satanic" and "racist" West and accused the US and its allies of waging a "hybrid war" against Russia.
He said the West had broken its promises to his country and had "no moral right" to talk about democracy.
At one point in the speech, he asked the assembled crowds if they wanted "children to be offered sex-change operations" – a practice he implied was widespread in the West.
Putin urged Kyiv to sit down for talks – but he warned he would not give up the four annexed Ukraine regions.
The four regions annexed cover some 90,000sq km, or about 15 per cent of Ukraine – roughly the size of Hungary or Portugal.
The farcical referendums have been declared illegal by the majority of the international community.
UN chief Antonio Guterres said it was a "dangerous escalation" that would damage future prospects for peace.
US President Joe Biden said the US would never recognise Russia's claims on Ukraine's territory.
"The results were manufactured in Moscow," Biden said.
Read More on The Sun
Ruth Jones gives view on Gavin & Stacey comeback rumours once and for all
I’m a mum-of-9 and I’m tired of people asking how many baby daddies I have
And PM Liz Truss said the UK will never accept the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as part of Russia.
“Putin cannot be allowed to alter international borders using brute force. We will ensure he loses this illegal war," she said.
Source: Read Full Article