This week Mr Putin will take centre stage as one of the guests of honour at Emmanuel Macron’s ceremony to mark the centenary of the end of World War I.
Next to wantaway German Chancellor Angela Merkel, under-siege Brexit Prime Minster Theresa May and increasingly disparaged Macron Mr Putin may seem every inch the strong man of Europe.
No longer it seems a paraiah, despite his country STILL occupying Crimea, still undermining Ukraine, killing British citizens with banned nerve agent on British soil, employing armies of hackers to influence elections around the globe and almost single-handedly re-inventing the murderous conditions of the 1960s Cold War.
The French President hopes to use the commemoration to issue a stark warning against the return of nationalism — a phenomenon he describes as a threat to global peace in the 21st century.
He will do this while standing next to an honoured guest who’s entire political success is predicated on Russian nationalism.
Earlier this week Macron said: “I’m struck by the similarity between the period we are living through and the inter-war years.
“Europe faces a risk of being dismembered by the leprosy of nationalism and being shunted aside by outside powers, and hence of losing its sovereignty.”
Yet not struck hard enough it seems to ban one of the main proponents of aggressive nationalism from a major event.
As one Central European diplomat told politics website Politico “Putin is winning in Ukraine, he is winning in Georgia and he is winning in Syria, so why should he give anything to the French?”
Many observers accuse Putin of striving to undermine European integration – and especially the EU – because he has a masterplan for a United States of Eastern Europe based on the old Soviet Union.
The weekend’s kow-towing to a man who should be seen for the tyrannical political opportunist he is will do nothing but provide a massive boost for his reputation at home.