The Kremlin organizes a reception at the Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg to celebrate the president’s 70th anniversary away from cameras and reporters
Kremlin spokesmen always tend to underline the “private” nature of President Vladimir Putin’s birthday celebrations, who this Friday reached the age of 70. Occasionally information about the venue and party guests was leaked. But this time, due to the war in Ukraine and, above all, to the controversy and criticism about the unfavorable course of the conflict, some Russian publications, citing sources from the Presidency, assured that the top Russian leader had decided to dispense with commemorations , even in the case of his 70th birthday, an important event in the life of any person.
However, not having celebrated anything would have been a clear sign that things are not going well. So, Putin convened for this Friday in the lavish setting of the Palace of Constantine, in Saint Petersburg, an “informal” summit of heads of state of the barely functioning Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the structure created after the disintegration of the USSR with the vain intention of maintaining a certain cohesion between the former Soviet republics.
But not even all the leaders of these republics attended, a group that Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were never part of. They avoided the meeting Georgia, Moldova and, of course, Ukraine. Neither was Kyrgyzstan, whose president, Sadir Zhaparov, limited himself to sending a congratulatory telegram.
So, apart from Putin, only Presidents Nikol Pashinian (Armenia), Ilham Aliev (Azerbaijan), Alexander Lukashenko (Belarus), Kasim-Zhomart Tokayev (Kazakhstan), Emomali Rachmon (Tajikistan) and Serdar Berdimukhamedov were present at the summit. (Turkmenistan).
The meeting began around noon and continued through lunch. The Russian president thanked them for coming and set the topics to be discussed; one of them had to do with security. “Indeed, in addition to Ukraine, where truly tragic events are taking place, unfortunately conflicts sometimes arise between other nearby states of the post-Soviet space, and this, of course, requires the development of measures to resolve them,” Putin told those present.
Then, in the afternoon, the actual birthday celebration took place, which, apparently, was attended by many other guests. Probably the oligarchs closest to the president and other people from his close circle. But neither the cameras nor the reporters could access. The honoree received numerous gifts, including a tractor that Lukashenko brought from his country, and, according to the Kremlin, he received many telephone congratulations, also from abroad, as were the cases of the presidents of North Korea, Kim Jong-un ; Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermúdez; South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa; Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan; and Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro.
Throughout Russia there were concentrations in tribute to the head of state, the largest, in Chechnya. The Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill, honored him saying that “God put you in power to carry out a mission of special importance and great responsibility for the country and the people.” Last year, Putin’s birthday was marred by the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the director of the Russian opposition newspaper, ‘Nóvaya Gazeta’, Dmitri Muratov, and this year the same has happened as the anti-Stalinist NGO and defender of Human Rights Humans Memorial the winner of the same award from the prestigious Norwegian Committee.
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