Destinations Magazine

Vladimir Putin — Legitimate Environmentalist

By Mendeleyeev

We know that the West doesn’t understand Vladimir Putin. So when members of the press corp began to snap photos of Russia’s president sitting with baby leopards, we knew it only a matter of time before more photo-shopped images with Vladimir Putin in the wild would be making the Internet rounds.

Chair Jean-Claude Killy

Mr. Putin escorted IOC Commission Chair Jean-Claude Killy to the Persian Leopard Centre in Sochi.

That he sat down on a log and played with a Persian leopard wasn’t just about photo-opportunities, rather it was Vladimir Putin being Vladimir Putin. He loves animals. You can see it in his face and eyes and the same delight is visible as when he relaxes with Koni his favorite dog or with Buffy and Yume, the canines who pretty much enjoy free run of the presidential residence at Novo-Ogaryovo.

Already one news organization is reporting that the baby leopards attacked journalists who accompanied Mr. Putin and IOC Commission Chairman Jean-Claude Killy,so lets set the record straight: the leopards didn’t really attack journalists in the first place. Secondly, the leopards are in the Sochi-based Persian leopard breeding and rehabilitation center and they’re accustomed to being around humans they meet every day but are fearful of strangers.

Still they are naturally scared of strangers and there probably isn’t a stranger bunch of humans on the planet outside we journalists.

Sochi Persian leopard breeding rehab center Putin and Dir Umar Semyonov.

This Persian leopard at the Sochi Breeding and Rehab Centre was nervous at first.

Centre director Umar Semyonov was there to calm the nervous leopard and before long it was putty in Mr. Putin’s arms.

Sochi Persian leopard breeding rehab center.

Getting acquainted: a Persian leopard and Mr. Putin at the Sochi Breeding Rehab Centre.

As news stories turn up the heat on the Russian attempt to curb the stray dog problem in Sochi there will be those who condemn the Russian president, as if perhaps he were responsible personally. Apparently in addition to handling Russia’s foreign policy, some feel that he should run in the next election Sochi city dogcatcher.

So, tt won’t matter that the trip wasn’t about Mr. Putin wrestling, shooting or riding a wild animal, the stereotypes will endure nonetheless. Oh, and he does lend himself to the stereotypes at times but what most in the West don’t understand is that Vladimir Putin is a true environmentalist. He isn’t the tree hugging twisted wacko Al Gore kind of environmentalist; rather Mr. Putin not only talks about nature and her creatures, but he is comfortable in and very importantly, he enjoys and craves opportunities to be a part of the natural world.

Being a part of nature is mere theory for many environmentalists but something very natural to Russia’s president.

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