Today is the birthday of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin who turns 61. Perhaps the biggest candles were lit yesterday on Red Square when Mr. Putin presided over the official lighting of the Olympic torches for the upcoming February Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.
Mr. Putin lit the torch but the flame went out and a member of the security detail quickly produced a light and the flame was reignited.
On Friday Mr. Putin presented an Olympic Torch to Prince Albert II of Monaco who holds a collection of Olympic torches. The Prince was in Moscow on a diplomatic visit.
Olympic flames aside, some Russians are more curious as to when Mr. Putin plans to leave office. He held the office of Prime Minister when he assumed the title of President with the resignation of Boris Yeltsin on the last day of 1999 and served as President until 2008. From 2008 to 2012 he was Prime Minister at the appointment of Dmitry Medvedev before being elected as President again in 2012.
Mr. Putin will spend his birthday at the APEC Summit in Bali where as President of the G20 he will address the gathering. Later in the day he has meetings scheduled with Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Several days ago the Putin government reached out to offer a meeting with American President Obama but so far there has been no official response.