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P Is for Party, Putin, Paradox and Publicity

October 11, 2002

Re "Stalin's Bash Doesn't Hold a Candle," Oct. 8: The article's description of a few of the extravagant gifts received by President Vladimir Putin at his 50th birthday party in Moscow was certainly noteworthy. As a college professor who occasionally writes for publications, I appreciated especially the gift of three pages of text by the former deputy prime minister of the Russian republic of Bashkortostan. This text, addressed to Putin, was composed solely of words beginning with the letter P and ended with praise: "Po Planete postavyat pamyatniki Pervomy Prezidentu Planety Putinu" (All around the planet they will put up monuments to the first president of the planet, Putin).

I have heard more than once during my four visits to Russia in the past two years that Putin's extravagance is not so well appreciated by the average Russian. I suggest that any future article that pertains to Putin's stature as president of Russia be worded something like this: Paradoxical, perpetually poor publicity professing President Putin's popularity predicates perjurious pride. Or should I have worded this in Russian?

Glenn A. Gorelick

Sierra Madre

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