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Friday, June 30, 2006

Bursting a Bubble II: Putin the Pedophile

Moscow Times reports that Vladimir Putinophile walked up to a young boy he had never met before, lifted his shirt and kissed him on the stomach. In broad public, in full view of cameras. La Russophobe doesn't know about you, dear reader, but she's got a nasty case of the heebie-jeebies. The Russian public, apparently, couldn't care less -- La Russophobe dares to wonder whether they would raise a finger against Putin even if he had taken a bite out of the poor little kid.

Kissing babies may be an old trick to impress voters, but President Vladimir Putin's decision to lift the shirt of a young boy and kiss his stomach in front of television cameras raised a few eyebrows and prompted many jokes Thursday.

Putin was shown on Channel One state television Wednesday walking through a Kremlin courtyard filled with tourists after a meeting with military academy graduates. Seeing a fair-haired boy of about 5, he kneeled down and asked his name. The startled boy replied, "Nikita." Putin lifted the boy's shirt and kissed his stomach. He then stood up, patted Nikita on the head and walked away.

Few Russian-language news organizations reported the incident. RIA-Novosti said only that Putin had stopped to talk to Russian, U.S. and French tourists. But Russian blogs and Internet message boards were awash in speculation as to what had prompted Putin's kiss. The top keyword search in the Russian blogosphere Thursday was "Putin kissed a boy," according to Yandex.

One blogger suggested Putin had had too much to drink at the meeting with the military graduates, while another joked that he had anointed his successor with the kiss. Some said Putin had two daughters and perhaps wished for a son. Ekho Moskvy host Alexander Plyushev wrote in his blog that if State Duma Deputy Alexander Chuyev, an anti-pornography crusader, had seen the footage, he would have accused state television of spreading child pornography.

The Kremlin press service declined to comment on why Putin had kissed the boy.

Satirist Maxim Konenenko spun a yarn on in which Putin, after kissing the boy, makes his way back to his office, stopping to unbutton the shirts and kiss the stomachs of every man he meets, including his deputy chief of staff, Vladislav Surkov. Konenenko ends with Putin rushing into his office and ordering his secretary to bring in "Medvedev, Ivanov, Sechin, Sobyanin, Mironov, Fradkov, Gref, Kudrin, Shoigu, Zurabov, Lavrov ... in short, everyone."

Vladimir Pribylovsky, a political analyst, said most Russians would think nothing of the kiss but state television might have run the footage for a reason. "They could have just buried it, but that might have sparked rumors," he said. "They probably figured it was better just to show the president as he is, knowing most people would take it in stride."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It does not take a psychiatrist to figure out that when a grown man lifts the shirt of a little boy and kisses his stomach, something is amiss.

Have you ever done such a thing?

What would your neighbor say if you did that to his child?