It took a moment to recognize the person on the banner hung from a building across the street from the Kremlin. After a brief moment a younger Vladimir Putin unfolded, shown in glasses while gazing off into the future, thoughtful and studious. Russia you see, is coming to terms with a 60 year old president, a man obsessed with appearing younger than his age.
The banner hangs from the same building that last year was used by protesters to hang anti-Putin banners. So when a YouTube video went public with how the banner was placed there by a group of young men, of course we wanted to see how it was done. Watch.
Channel One was busy through the day interviewing primary school children who gushed their appreciation for Russia’s leader, however it turns out that not all Russians were willing to wish Mr. Putin good health and prosperity on his birthday. The ones who dared to protest on his birthday in public were quickly bused off to jail by police.
Not everyone was out to protest and in fact most Russian’s seemed not to care one way or another. Those who did care seemed in general to go over the top in worship of their president. One Russian artist put on a display of paintings designed to demonstrate the caring but firm side of Putin. Titled “President–the kindest person” it was as if a scene from North Korean worship of a leader had been transplanted on Russian soil. That would be a frightening thought.
Of course there will always be pranks played out by the younger generation. These young fellows were lucky to get away before being caught. Setting up their “kindest person” leader on the garden square in from of the KGB’s famous Lubyanka prison, they did however attract a crowd before their statue of Mr Putin, attired in judo clothing, could be removed by a policeman who emerged from the prison to dismantle their display.
His supporters lauded the day as one of significance in Russian history, repeating Putin’s campaign themes of the United States as being the enemy of Russia and extolling Putin as the firm leader who would guide Russia to her status as a world power in this decade.