Their heads tilted so close together that they brush at the temple, the couple seem a picture of harmony and understanding. His face is strangely pockmarked, hers drawn yet beautiful, but both are smiling with quiet contentment.
The iconic image of Ukraine's opposition leader, Viktor Yushchenko, and his ally, Yulia Timoshenko, on stage in Kiev appeared in newspapers across the world. It is a reminder of happier times: the orange revolution last winter that propelled Yushchenko to the presidency.
A rigged presidential election had sparked a popular uprising that quickly saw the capital's Independence Square crammed with chanting protesters. For more than a month, international attention was locked on Ukraine and on the "dream team" of Yushchenko and Timoshenko, who promised a sparkling future out of the clutches of a corrupt, Soviet-style regime.
Yushchenko, the shy but respected former banker whose face was crumpled by an alleged poisoning attempt, provided the gravitas.
Timoshenko was the glamorous firebrand who loosed off tirades of rhetoric and called her supporters to the barricades.
And in the end, the fairy tale came true. The arch-villain of the piece, pro-Russian prime minister Viktor Yanukovich, was ushered from the stage and Yushchenko took the presidency. Within weeks he named his spirited sidekick as prime minister.
Then the trouble began. The economy began to nosedive and rifts opened between the orange leaders.
"From the very first moment that the president came to power, people from his closest circle made an enemy figure out of me," claimed Timoshenko, in an interview at her party headquarters in central Kiev.
When she was sacked as premier with the rest of her cabinet last September, after a welter of corruption allegations between Yushchenko's aides and ministers spilled into the open, she turned on her former ally, accusing him of "ruining our unity, our future, the future of our country."
Petite and startlingly good-looking, the 45-year-old former businesswoman retains her fearsome reputation -- her latest moniker in the Ukrainian press is "the samurai in a skirt."
Approaching the end of a 16-hour working day, she is dressed in an immaculate pinstripe trouser suit and a pleated white blouse.
"I was not fired for some kind of action that was ineffective in my role as head of the government, but to close off the subject of this shameful corruption within the president's circle," she said.
Since her dismissal she has kept up a constant stream of criti-cism of Yushchenko, calling Kiev's recent deal with Moscow over the gas crisis "a complete betrayal."
In Ukraine, the split between the orange leaders has led to widespread disillusionment with their vows to throw off the corrupt old ways that thrived under former president Leonid Kuchma.
"Yushchenko came off very badly because people see him and Timoshenko as a quarrelling couple and they think he, as the man, should be patching things up," said Denys Bohush, a former campaign spin doctor for Yushchenko.
Timoshenko said the breakup was "a great mistake" and the "biggest moral trauma of my life," but is convinced the ideals of the orange revolution can still be salvaged. "My political aim, in fact, is very simple -- I would like to work a miracle and realize what was promised at the time of Yushchenko's election. I want Ukraine to stop being a country of clans."