Despite the icy relationship between the U.S. and Russia, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have publicly praised one another throughout the real estate mogul's presidential campaign — and now, in a new piece of graffiti in Lithuania, they appear to be closer than ever.
Artist Mindaugas Bonanu depicted the two locking lips in the artwork featured on the side of a barbecue restaurant in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Next to the painting is the phrase "Make everything great again," a play on Trump's campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again."
Restaurant owner Dominykas Čečkauskas said the provocative painting is "predicting that if Russia and the USA would ever make out, it would happen in the Baltic states ... with tongues or with tanks.”
In his annual address last December, Putin called Trump "a bright personality, a talented person, no doubt about it," and said he welcomed Trump's stance on U.S. relations with Moscow.
Several days later, Trump told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" he appreciated the compliment — even if it came from a U.S. adversary who kills journalists and political opponents and invades countries.
"When people call you 'brilliant' it's always good, especially when the person heads up Russia," Trump said.
Čečkauskas said the art will remain on the wall of his restaurant for the next several months and that passersby have reacted positively. Many people have taken selfies with it in the background or have staged a similar smooch in front of the image.
The painting hearkens back to the famous 1979 “Socialist Fraternal Kiss” between Russian secretary Leonid Brezhnev and German politician Erich Honecker. A kiss on the mouth between Socialist leaders was not unusual then, but a photo capturing Brezhnev's and Honecker's enthusiastic kiss and embrace circulated around the world.
When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, the fraternal kiss between the two leaders was depicted in graffiti on the side of the wall.