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Putin promotes cuddly image as Sochi Olympics near

Yet pest control company says it has a contract to exterminate stray dogs in Sochi throughout the Olympics
Tuesday, February 4, 2014

SOCHI, RussiaVladimir Putin, rugged outdoorsman and tough-guy Russian president, promoted a cuddly image Tuesday as his Olympics drew near.

Putin checked in at a preserve for endangered Persian leopards and visited a group of cubs born last summer in the mountains above the growing torrent of activity in Sochi for the Winter Games.

Putin

Alexei Nikolsky, RIA Novosti (Presidential Press Service)/AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin pets a snow leopard cub at the snow leopard sanctuary in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014.

“We’ve decided to restore the population of the Persian leopard because of the Olympic Games,” Putin said. “Let’s say that because of the Olympic Games, we have restored parts of the destroyed nature.”

Putin entered the cage and petted the leopard on the head. “We liked each other,” he said.

Not so the accompanying journalists. They apparently upset the big cat, which scratched one of them on the hand and bit another on the knee, Russian news agencies reported.

Putin’s first step on the Olympic stage was designed as a show of environmental consciousness during the Sochi Games, which open Friday . The leopard preserve was established five years ago as an Olympics-related project.

The leopards are living in Sochi National Park in between seaside Sochi and the Alpine venues in the towering Caucasus Mountains. Some of the new leopard population is to be released next year in hopes of repopulating southern Russia, where they became extinct in the 1970.

The former KGB operative has thrown open the Kremlin treasury to finance the Olympics, lavishing a record $51 billion on sports facilities and transportation infrastructure in the resort city on the Black Sea coast.

He has gambled big on the games, determined to host an event in a fashion befitting his image of a newly powerful Russia that is a global economic and political power.

Putin drove to the reserve in an SUV, with two International Olympic Committee officials riding in the back seat. Later Tuesday, the Russian leader was due in Sochi to address the IOC.

With the vast sum Putin invest ed in the games, he has turned the once-sleepy resort into a kind of Disneyland of phantasmagorical structures – new highways, sweeping overpasses and top-notch sports venues. Winding roads and rail lines were cut upward into the mountains to newly built Alpine facilities.

While the massive project doesn’t represent a do-or-die moment for Russia, the most expensive Olympics in history – with billions of dollars reportedly lost to graft – will still reverberate through the economy and Kremlin politics. Putin’s third term as president will end in 2018.

What’s more, the games are being shunned by President Barack Obama and key European leaders. The U.S. leader, in open protest of new Russian anti-gay laws, dispatched an official American delegation made up of three openly gay athletic greats – former tennis star Billie Jean King, 2006 Olympic hockey medalist Caitlin Cahow and figure skating wizard Brian Boitano.

Former Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano leads the U.S. delegation.

Menawhile, a pest control company which has been killing stray dogs in Sochi for years told The Associated Press on Monday that it has a contract to exterminate more of the animals throughout the Olympics.

Alexei Sorokin, director general of pest control firm Basya Services, said his company is involved in what he described as the “catching and disposing” of dogs. Sorokin refused to specify whether they shoot or poison dogs or say where they take the carcasses.

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Filed under: Europe, Olympics

107 more reader comments:

  1. wish that leopard would take his ball off… see how he likes that..feeling cuddly now?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:11pm
  2. What a load of crap!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:12pm
  3. what about all the stray dogs he ordered killed so the visitors wouldn’t be upset by them??

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:13pm
  4. He really did this? Evil man.

    Replied on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:51pm
  5. he did, Canada is sending Gay and Lesbian members of Parliment to represent the country

    Replied on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:54pm
  6. Oh please, he’s as cuddly as a grizzly bear with rabbis

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:14pm
  7. while he killed stray dogs – what a guy

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:15pm
  8. He’s still a homophobic asshole. With or without the Persian Leopard.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:17pm
  9. homosexuals and hetersexuals perform the dame socially

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:17pm
  10. When I think of Putin, I think of him walking away from an explosion as fighter jets soar overhead, not as a cuddly guy…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:19pm
  11. A Wolf in Sheep Skins

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:19pm
  12. This is the guy who plans to display recently captured orcas at the games. Criminal.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:19pm
  13. The leopard has more to fear from that creature.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:23pm
  14. Sort of reminds me of the villain in that James Bond film. Dr. No.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:23pm
  15. WHATEVER!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:24pm
  16. cuddly like hell.. such a bastard

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:24pm
  17. So cuddly he prosecutes 14-year-old girls for coming out. -_-

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:25pm
  18. Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:25pm
  19. Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:26pm
  20. Piece of crap!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:27pm
  21. Putin on a platform and beam him into outer space…..

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:28pm
  22. Putin is as cuddly as a maggot.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:28pm
  23. I would actually prefer to cuddle a maggot, or have Putin cuddling hundreds.

    Replied on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 9:24pm
  24. So as this photo op is taking place he has order the roundup and murder of all stray dogs in Sochi, he is such a animal lover, no he is just a fucking animal!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:29pm
  25. He should be cuddling a large pig.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:29pm
  26. You’ll never recover your image when you ban gay couples from having a family! Your a disgraceful, power hungry, homophobic asshole & absolute despicable excuse for a human being!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:31pm
  27. You're looking at this way, way, waaaaay, too narrowly. He's not simply "banning them from having a family", it's moreso he's trying to ban them from existing or speaking out, through jail time, and the allowance of country wide hate crimes with little persecution for their attackers.

    Replied on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:34pm
  28. He promises an image? Like the USSR promised paradise on earth for workers?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:31pm
  29. Wish that cat would rip his throat out! We could loop it and watch it over and over.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:32pm
  30. Maybe it’ll eat his closeted ass.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:33pm
  31. I would be happy if that leopard bit his face off………….

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:35pm
  32. Was this right before or right after he gave the order to kill thousands of dogs?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:36pm
  33. He fools no one …

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:36pm
  34. I bet the leopard is beyond embarassed to be photographed with this garbage and will later have to explain to his friends and family he really needed the money and it might help his modeling career.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:38pm
  35. i bet that leopard about to slash his throat :)

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:40pm
  36. …right before he ordered the leopard be shot for lunch. -_-

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:44pm
  37. Fuck you putin…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:44pm
  38. P.R.I.C.K

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:45pm
  39. fuck him

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:50pm
  40. Asshole….nobody believes this guy

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:56pm
  41. Boo!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 4:57pm
  42. KGB assassin with a “cuddly image”?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:02pm
  43. how about take care of the russian slums where you can’t walk anywhere without stepping on a used needle? i hope there aren’t towns/cities like that in america…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:02pm
  44. Idiot

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:04pm
  45. To bad the cat didn’t bite his jugular vein!! The world would be a better place without “Putin’s”!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:07pm
  46. Cuddly image my ass!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:17pm
  47. Putin means to POKE in my language…POKE! POKE! POKE!….wake up mother Russia,you have a DIC!TATOR in your mist. the new and improved Soviet Union..NYET!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:17pm
  48. haven,t they checked if that leopard was not gay ??? lol ;) :P

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:17pm
  49. But they are killing all the stray dogs in that city for the olympics…what a fucking piece of shit hypocrite

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:18pm
  50. This is allot like when Nazi Germany hosted the Olympics Hitler tried to make everything seem “perfect and happy” as people were burning in the furnaces….but now its Nazi Russia

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:22pm
  51. kgb asshole

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:28pm
  52. As he’s having all the stray dogs in the city killed so visitors won’t see them.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:29pm
  53. PIG

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:29pm
  54. Don’t you believe it.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:34pm
  55. Didn’t Hitler do the same thing in 1936?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:35pm
  56. he’s beneath the effort to make any more comments from me.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:37pm
  57. Wonder if Czar Vlad will have his shirt off for the opening ceremony?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:38pm
  58. The leopard should have mauled him. That would have been funny!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:39pm
  59. so if every man were to hold onto a wild cat that makes him straight? makes him more of a man? what a dumb ass!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:42pm
  60. Kill Putin!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:45pm
  61. Cuddly like a blood sucking vampire.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:47pm
  62. Only reason Putin is holding a leopard is all his buddies are out killing the stay dogs. BOYCOTT THE OLYMPICS AND RUSSIA!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:49pm
  63. Sorry Putin is still a Homophobic Asshole and a Bigot!!…Cuddly….NOT!! :/

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:53pm
  64. Yes, that photo makes him look oh-so-cuddly, huggy, and nurturing. The next time we see that leopard he will be a coat on Putin’s back.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:56pm
  65. He is a weasel…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 5:56pm
  66. Oh, brother.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:08pm
  67. Thug with cat.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:14pm
  68. Love to see him get ripped to pieces by the cat.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:19pm
  69. Dump him in a hole in Cuba at Guantanamo in solitary with no AC. Then throw the key away. This man needs to be prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:25pm
  70. I wonder if that leopard is gay? That would take edge off of cuddly

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:26pm
  71. :poop: Homophobe Putin

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:32pm
  72. I wanna see him in a sling!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:33pm
  73. Didn’t he say gay people like children and animals; he cuddles a leopard and kisses little boys chests/bellys. Hmmmmm could he be gay but he has saggy moobs so he can’t be.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:35pm
  74. Backwards leader of a backwards country

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:38pm
  75. He is a dictator

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:40pm
  76. He really does whatever he can to portray himself as having a heart, but we all know he is just a blob of emptiness.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:41pm
  77. fucking hypocrite

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:46pm
  78. He’s a pig

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:57pm
  79. Isn’t their economy shit! Their money is worth what 2.5 cents on our dollar ?

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 7:05pm
  80. Screw that guy.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 7:11pm
  81. “ugh”, wouldn’t rust him with anything for anything….

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 7:45pm
  82. It seems so strange that having the games there seems so against everything the Olympics has ever stood for…..I don’t like this little turd and I certainly don’t trust him. I don’t believe our people should go or that it should be held there.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 7:51pm
  83. Is it wrong to wish it would bite Him.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 7:54pm
  84. I hope that cat rips his heart out!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 7:55pm
  85. Cuddly with a fucking Cat of Prey!!!! lol
    Hope it spins around and rips his fucking throat out

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 8:01pm
  86. Anyway…its a fucking bastard!!!!!!!:(

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 8:06pm
  87. Putin is simply a ruthless dictator.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 8:10pm
  88. It’s a male animal. Arrest him!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 8:17pm
  89. He’s a sick man…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 8:24pm
  90. I see one animal or and a member of the cat family

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 8:31pm
  91. he still looks scary

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 8:32pm
  92. Save leopards but kill all the stray dogs! Asshole!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 8:53pm
  93. Mean little man he is need to lock him up throw away the key

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 8:55pm
  94. Openly stroking a pussy doesn’t change anything, dick.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 8:59pm
  95. Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 9:26pm
  96. Lmao @ Putin and cuddly in the same sentence!!

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 9:27pm
  97. Would love seeing the leopard maul him

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 9:28pm
  98. #fuckrussia

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 9:52pm
  99. Thats the Demon in person there…he is just waiting to start with his evil plans…

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 9:54pm
  100. Cuddly as a cactus.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:09pm
  101. She deep throats horses.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:15pm
  102. Fuck him. Where are the rwvolutionaries

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:17pm
  103. This guy is a tool…what a moran….Chicago.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:20pm
  104. Hope the big cat eats him

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:21pm
  105. For the last week I have ran a the same post to a lot of different sights on a lot of different subjects. Why because I want people to think about a certain issue, the rights of homo sexual as the heterosexuals think what we deserve. this is what I said: I think str8 people should be punished or charged with child abuse. only str8 people give birth to homo sexual children….. this is what I wanted it to do. it made you think about it and now its in your mind. I just want people to know we the homo sexual did not make the problems that say what rights go to who. so i brought up the source of it all.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:22pm
  106. a raving bigot with a cute leopard is still a raving bigot.

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:35pm
  107. Now if it would just rip his throat out (Y)

    Posted on Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 10:37pm