‘Morning Joe’ Guest Reveals How Vladimir Putin Relayed a Darkly Coded Message via His Favorite Beatles Song | Video

British photojournalist Platon (Antoniou) tells Willie Geist about his spooky conversation with the Russian leader

Renowned photographer Platon says the day he sat with Vladimir Putin, the Russian leader relayed a darkly coded message during a playful 2007 exchange about the Beatles.

The British photog (born Platon Anoniou) appeared Tuesday on “Morning Joe” to promote his hefty book of images “The Defenders: Heroes of the Fight for Global Human Rights.” MSNBC host Willie Geist asked the photojournalist about the story behind his Putin portrait.

“I photographed him in his private dacha in the middle of a forest outside of Moscow,” Platon said. “I’m led into the building at gunpoint, snipers everywhere on a security wall outside. I remember he walks in with a giant entourage. I said to him, ‘You know, Mr. President, before we make history together and capture this moment, I’ve got a question for you. I would like to know if you ever listen to The Beatles.’”

Translators relayed the question, and Putin immediately cleared the room of everyone but his private bodyguards.

“Then he turns to me and in perfect English, he says, ‘I love The Beatles,’” Platon said.

“I said, ‘I didn’t know you spoke English,’” Platon continued. “He said, ‘I speak perfect English.’ I said, ‘OK. Who is your favorite?’ He said, ‘Paul.’ I said, ‘What is your favorite song, ‘Back in the USSR’?’ He didn’t like that at all. Then he turns to me and says, ‘No, my favorite song is ‘Yesterday.’”

And that’s the moment Platon says Putin was speaking beyond the grooves in a record.

“Think about it,” the photog continued. “I’ve thought about it many years since I took that picture. What he was doing was sending me a message about the old days through a Paul McCartney song – that human connection let me in. I ended an inch and a half away from his nose. I felt his breath on my hand. I got the truth, the face of power and authority in Russia. He is formidable. He is a strategist. He’s not to be underestimated. I believe he knows much more about us than we know about him.”

Not to put too fine a point on it, Geist ground away nonetheless.

“He’s in the midst of reassembling yesterday, attempting to anyway, putting the Soviet Union back together,” Geist said.

Watch the entire exchange in the video above.

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