Vladimir Putin has celebrated his 62nd birthday. But he receives not only congratulations: a lot of people pronounce curses upon him. In Warsaw a rally on the occasion of Putin’s birthday has taken place: participants brought a cake and a postcard for Putin and sent him ‘bst wishes’, from ‘to stop being a tyrant’ to ‘may this year be the last year of your life’.
Vladimir Putin is called on the war in Ukraine and Anna Politkovskaya’s death. The prominent Russian journalist was killed eight years ago in Moscow.
TOMASZ CZUWARA, Open Dialog Foundation:
“This year is not good for Vladimir Putin, he has done a lot of harm. In my opinion, we should wish him from the bottom of our hearts to stop being a tyrant”
To celebrate his birthday Putin took a day off and went to taiga ‘just to rest’. The 62-year-old Russian President still enjoys showing off in the roles of a Syberian hunter, motor head or fighter, which bears certain fruit: after the annexation of Crimea Putin’s popularity has skyrocketed.
RESIDENTS OF MOSCOW:
“A lot of people are not in favour of him now, but there is some merit in his act, I believe.”
“We are glad of having such President; God grant him health and many years of rule!”
Every year Putin receives gifts and congratulations from his supporters and subordinates. This year they have organised a musical greeting: children in their best clothes are singing a song for Putin in a palace.
Some people even started selling clothes bearing images of Putin. The purchasers say it’s not a cult, just showing respect to their President.
“Everyone can see you support what is going on in the country.”
Internet community ‘A Group of Vladimir Putin’s supporters’ has organised exhibition ’12 Labours of Putin’ comparing the ex-chekist to Hercules. Putin knocks down a hydra of sanctions, Putin shoots down planes over Syria, Putin holds ‘the peace in Ukraine’ on his shoulders. Even this doesn’t seem to be the cult of personality, Russians say.
But the world sees the Russian President differently. These are cartoons from the international contest which was held in Kyiv: Putin’s fighting in Ukraine was the main topic.
But a negative attitude to Vladimir Putin doesn’t imply anti-Russian rhetoric. People in Warsaw like Russian culture, its citizens and wish them to have their own non-violent Maidan, their own revolution and, of course, freedom.
Martsin Yarski, In Focus