After spending two and a half hours speaking to President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin had dinner seated beside the American leader’s wife, Melania.
The Trumps both met Putin for the first time on Friday, as the world’s top leaders gathered in Hamburg, Germany at the G20.
President Trump’s conversation with Putin signified the first time the Republican brought up Russia’s hacking of the 2016 presidential election, which Putin promptly denied.
With the day’s business out of the way, the leaders enjoyed a concert and then a Friday night dinner, in which couples were split up and not seated with their spouses.
That’s how Melania Trump ended up next to Putin, with President Trump seated down the way, closer to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The first lady, who grew up in Slovenia, then a part of Yugoslavia, knows several languages including German, which the Russian president also speaks.
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DINNER DIPLOMACY: At the G20 Friday night, couples were split up during dinner, which led to Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) being seated next to American first lady Melania Trump (right)
The Russian president and the American first lady both speak German, though met for the first time earlier Friday
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) is caught in conversation with American first lady Melania Trump (right) at a post-concert dinner in Hamburg, Germany
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left), sits next to American first lady Melania Trump (center left), who’s also seated next to Argentinian President Mauricio Macri (center), who was deep in conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (center right)
President Trump (bottom left) was split up from his wife and Vladimir Putin (upper right) and seated closer to German Chancellor Angela Merkel (center right, in pink) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (lower right)
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) and first lady Melania Trump (center left) were seated near the center of the huge table, near Argentinian President Mauricio Marci (center right) and the G20 host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel
President Donald Trump (left), not seated with his wife for the Friday night dinner at the G20, instead talks to wife of Argentinian President Juliana Awada (right)
Earlier on Friday, Melania Trump (left) greeted Russian President Vladimir Putin (right) with a handshake
On Friday night, world leaders and their spouses attended a dinner – and were separated and thus seated by leaders and spouses of other countries – as the day’s events at the G20 drew to a close
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right) whose country hosted this year’s G20 in the city of Hamburg, was seated beside Argentinian President Mauricio Macri (left)
China’s President Xi Jinping (left) was seated next to France’s new first lady Brigitte Macron during the massive dinner, as the world’s leaders and their spouses were split up
Brigitte Macron, the first lady of France, attended the G20 for the first time, as her husband, Emmanuel Macron was elected president in early May, defeating far right candidate Marine Le Pen in a run off
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among the world leaders who assembled for the G20 in Hamburg, Germany. He attended a massive Friday night dinner with his peers
Participants of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany attended a banquet Friday night, with leaders and their spouses split up and spread around the giant table
A massive banquet was prepared for the participants in the G20, with the world’s leaders and their spouses split up around a large table in Hamburg, Germany
The dinner took place after German Chancellor Angela Merkel treated her G20 guests to Ludwig van Beethoven’s 9th Symphony hoping to spread her vision with ‘a hymn to humanity, peace and international understanding’.
Questions had been raised about how realistic a vision that is with Putin, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Trump all on hand.
The last portion of the symphony is the EU’s official anthem.
There were concerns before the performance that Trump might dip out of the show, performed at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie, given the American president’s feeling towards symphonies.
Trump wrote in his 2004 book ‘How to Get Rich’ that he knows little about classical music, preferring instead the likes of Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith.
Pictured: G20 leaders and their spouses pose for a family photo prior to the concert at the Elbphilharmonie hall during the G20 Summit in Hamburg. But will Trump last the night?
Pictured: French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte are surprised by a man taking a photograph as US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump applaud at the Elbphilharmonie concert hall
Pictured: The G20 leaders prepare to hear the performance of Beethoven’s final symphony. President Trump can be seen in the front row speaking with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte as the First Lady Melania Trump leans over to listen
Pictured: French president Emmanuel Macron finds himself in the middle of what appears to be a very heated discussion between his wife Brigitte and US president Donald Trump before the start of the concert in Hamburg
Prime Minister Theresa May and husband Philip pose outside the Elbphilharmonie before the Beethoven symphony
Pictured: US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron wave as photographs are taken of them and their wives at the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg
President Trump wrote in his 2004 book ‘How to Get Rich’ that he knows little about classical music, preferring instead the likes of Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith. Pictured at the front: Trump with Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron and First Lady Melania Trump. Behind them are President Xi Jingping and his wife Peng Liyuan as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer
Angela Merkel prepares for a family photograph outside the venue as other G20 leaders – including Donald Trump and wife Melania, Emmanuel Macron and wife Brigitte and Justin Trudeau – look on
Pictured: Donald Trump arriving at the Elbphilharmonie concert hall during the G20 Summit in Hamburg. He has previously said he has a limited knowledge of classical music
Pictured: Angela Merkel waves and smiles as Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte and US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania prepare to listen to the Ninth Symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven
Pictured: White House senior advisor Jared Kushner and the daughter of US President Donald Trump Ivanka Trump at the concert hall in Hamburg
President Trump’s family members and aides, son-in-law Jared Kushner (middle right) and daughter Ivanka Trump (right) were spotted in the audience of Hamburg’s Elbphilarmonie concert hall
Fox News Channel captured the arrival of President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner (left) and his wife, first daughter Ivanka Trump (right)
Pictured: Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip pose with other participants of the the G20 Summit and their spouses
According to CNN, Mrs Merkel chose the 1824 symphony – ‘a substantial part of German culture’ – herself.
Its final ‘Ode to Joy’ movement, featuring a choir singing the rousing words of poet Friedrich Schiller, has long been seen as a call for unity and justice.
Two of the lines in particular – ‘What convention strictly divides/All people become brothers’ – are famous for urging togetherness.
Beethoven was fascinated by the revolutionary struggle against the old order in Europe and was once a great admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Pictured left: President of Argentina Mauricio Macri kisses his wife Juliana Awada on the red carpet as they attend the concert. Right: French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron
The grand symphony – first performed when Beethoven was completely deaf – has long been used during political events. Pictured: President Trump and the First Lady at the concert
Pictured left: Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg with her husband Sindre Finnes. Right: Donald Trump with his wife Melania
Pictured: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau
Left: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy Turnbull pose on the red carpet while, right, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi smiles as he stands alone
The glamorous Argentine couple wave as they enter the concert all. Pictured: President Mauricio Macri with wife Juliana Awada
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (pictured right) arrives at the Elbphilharmonie concert hall to attend the performance of Beethoven’s Ninth
Pictured: French President Emmanuel Macron laughs and gesticulates as President Trump looks on
Pictured left: Indonesian President Joko Widodo and his wife Iriana Joko Widodo. Right: Macron and Trudeau speak with each other as President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker looks on
President Trump met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders before the performance
Pictured: Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan wave for the camera before the beginning of the performance
Pictured left: Prime Minister Theresa May arrives for the concert at the Elbphilharmonie as part of the G20 summit in Hamburg. Pictured right: The leaders of the richest economies in the world gather for a photograph outside the concert hall
President Trump wrote in his 2004 book ‘How to Get Rich’ that he knows little about classical music, preferring instead the likes of Frank Sinatra, the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith. Pictured: The president with his wife Melania
Head of music at Nottingham University Nicholas Baragwanath said the piece was written ‘at a time of repression and counter-revolition’.
He added: ‘The [French] Revolution, this great experiment, had failed and it was a police state, effectively.’
For that reason the piece has long been seen as a ‘cry for freedom.’
In the original version of the poem, however, it contained the line ‘Beggars become brothers of lords’ in place of ‘All people become brothers’.
Either way, the grand symphony – first performed when Beethoven was completely deaf – has long been used during political events.
Perhaps most famously, a performance was conducted by Leonard Bernstein on Christmas Day 1989, six weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
It has also been used by communists, leftist groups in Peru, the Tiananmen Square protesters and even the Nazis.
Iriana Joko Widodo (left, in red), wife of Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, and Emine Erdogan (left, in purple), wife of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were among those who joined a boat tour earlier. Also in attendance was Akie Abe, wife of Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzō Abe
Among those who joined him for the riverboat cruise were French President Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigitte (left, with Juliana Awada, wife of Argentinian President Mauricio Macri)
The European Union adopted the final movement of the symphony as its anthem in the 1970s because it encapsulates the principles of freedom, peace and solidarity.
But John Deathridge – emeritus professor of music at Kings College London – believes the piece is well chosen for an audience including President Trump.
‘Donald Trump is behaving like a monarch,’ he said.
‘It’s like going backwards to monarchical times when leaders had absolutely no conscience, so in a way it is a very suitable piece for him.’
FULL ‘ODE TO JOY’ LYRICS BY FRIEDRICH SCHILLER
Pictured: Ludwig van Beethoven, whose Ninth Symphony has been adopted by many political movements throughout history
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods, Daughter from Elysium,
We enter, drunk with fire, Heavenly One, thy sanctuary!
Your magic joins again. What convention strictly divides;
All people become brothers, Where your gentle wing abides.
Who has succeeded in the great attempt, To be a friend’s friend, Whoever has won a lovely woman, Add his to the jubilation!
Indeed, who calls even one soul, Theirs upon this world!
And whoever never managed, shall steal himself
Weeping away from this union. All creatures drink of joy
At nature’s breast. Just and unjust, Alike taste of her gift;
She gave us kisses and the fruit of the vine, A tried friend to the end.
[Even] the worm has been granted sensuality, And the cherub stands before God! Gladly, as His heavenly bodies fly
On their courses through the heavens, Thus, brothers, you should run your race, As a hero going to conquest.
You millions, I embrace you. This kiss is for all the world!
Brothers, above the starry canopy There must dwell a loving Father.
Do you fall in worship, you millions? World, do you know your creator? Seek him in the heavens; Above the stars must He dwell.
Meanwhile protesters have set items on fire in the streets of Hamburg, Germany all throughout the leaders’ meetings on Friday. One individual holds up a ‘Capitalism Kills’ sign
A police helicopter flies over protesters, many of whom are anarchists, gathered in the streets of Hamburg, Germany Friday night
People protesting the G20 have set things on fire, clashed with the police, all day Friday, as world leaders including President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have met in Hamburg, Germany