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Putin’s Long Table Sparks Dispute Over Who Built It

Putins Long Table Sparks Dispute Over Who Built It


With Ukraine’s fate uncertain, world attention has focused on urgent negotiations, troop movements, threats, high-profile meetings.

And President Vladimir V. Putin’s table.

The white, oval behemoth, where the Russian president has met with leaders including President Emmanuel Macron of France and Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany, has become the subject of semiotic analysis, countless memes, and, now, an international disagreement between two furniture makers who both say they built it.

On Tuesday, Spanish furniture maker Vicente Zaragozá told Spanish radio station Cope that his company had provided the table and that, though it is not perfect, seeing it separating Mr. Putin and Mr. Macron “made me emotional.”

In the north of Italy, Renato Pologna, who runs his family’s furniture manufacturing company, said he had no idea what Mr. Zaragozá was talking about.

“We made the table,” he said. “I don’t even know who these people are.”

Mr. Pologna said that his company, OAK, built the table for Boris Yeltsin in 1995 when he was the president of Russia, as part of a commission to fully furnish two floors of a Kremlin palace. Within two years, he said his company provided wooden paneling, doors, sofas, tables and marble fireplaces for the room where Mr. Putin has been meeting with leaders, as well as for other rooms and the building’s upper floor, which is a private residence for the president.

Mr. Pologna said the 20-foot-long table is made of seasoned beech hardwood, lacquered with water-based paint and decorated with gold leaves. Just the top weighs about 770 pounds, he said.

Mr. Zaragozá, who could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, told the radio station that the table was “made of wood from the Alps, from trees that grow in the shadows, because when trees grow in the sun, they grow in a hurry.” He said that his company supplied the Kremlin between 2002 and 2006.

Mr. Pologna said Mr. Zaragozá could not have built the original table because it appeared in a book published in Russia in 2000 with pictures from the Kremlin’s palace and provided an image from the book.

The Kremlin could not immediately clear up the issue.

The furniture makers have extensive résumés. Mr. Zaragozá’s company has produced furniture for other big clients in the former Soviet Union, including designing a dining room for the president of Uzbekistan. Mr. Pologna said that he has furnished the palaces of Malaysian sultans, the private residences of Arab royal families and did some work for Saddam Hussein in the early days of his government.

But the table in Moscow now holds special meaning to them both.

“It gave me the satisfaction of having done something important, the rest doesn’t matter to me,” Mr. Zaragozá said.

“If they manage to solve the situation” in Ukraine, Mr. Pologna said, “it means this table brought them luck.”



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