Macron's Latest Photos Spark Debate: Historian Draws Parallel to Putin

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.21 - 2024 1:24 PM CET

Photo: Victor Velter /
Photo: Victor Velter /
There have been very mixed reactions to the latest pictures shared of the French President.

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In recent weeks, Macron has taken a firm stance against Russia, hinting at the possibility of deploying ground troops to Ukraine. This political muscle-flexing has now been mirrored in a literal sense, as Macron's official photographer, Soazig de la Moissonière, shared images on Instagram that seem to draw inspiration from the iconic "Rocky" films.

The photographs depict a sweaty Macron in a vigorous display of physicality, punching a boxing bag with a gritty expression.

These images have elicited mixed reactions from the public and commentators alike.

Femme Actuelle, a women's magazine, highlighted Macron's intense gaze and the sheer force of his punch, suggesting a powerful physical and metaphorical stance. However, not everyone is as enthusiastic about this portrayal, with some critics drawing parallels between Macron and Putin, who is well-known for his macho, outdoorsy photo ops, including shirtless horseback riding, judo, and hunting.

Historian Éric Anceau, from the University of Lorraine, voiced concerns over the photos, questioning their authenticity and critiquing their apparent embrace of a "new populist virility."

Anceau sees this trend as reflective of a broader shift among global leaders towards displaying exaggerated masculine traits, a movement he attributes to Putin's influence.

The images emerge against the backdrop of Macron's warnings about Russian aggression.

The French president has cautioned that Russia's ambitions could extend beyond Ukraine, potentially threatening other European nations. His comments on French television underscored the urgency of supporting Ukraine against Russian expansionism.

The boxing images of Macron are interpreted by some as a direct reflection of France's hardened stance towards the Kremlin. Broadcast network CNews noted the president's determined look and combat-ready posture, seeing him as a true warrior prepared to confront his adversaries.

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