Russia: Vladimir Putin booed in Moscow (VIDEO)


Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is Russia's strongest leader in decades. Critics say he's a neo-imperialist bent on remaking the Soviet Union.


Aleksey Druzhinin

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was greeted with boos and whistles from the crowd at a Moscow sports event Sunday night.

The incident, which took place at the capital's Olimpisky stadium after a martial arts contest between a Russian and an American fighter, was broadcast live on Russian TV.

A heavily edited clip was shown on later news bulletins, Agence France Presse reported.

But the uncensored version was uploaded to YouTube, where by Monday it had had more than 600,000 views.

In the video, loud boos can be heard as Putin enters the ring and begins speaking. It pauses only when he turns to congratulate Fedor Emelianenko, the Russian fighter who won the match.

The stadium's director, Mikhail Moskalyov, said afterwards the jeers were for Emelianenko's American opponent, Jeff Monson, who was helped out of the ring during Putin's speech.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi, Kristina Potupchik, claimed the noisy crowd was simply anxious to get to the bathrooms, Russian news agency Ria Novosti reported.

But one voice can be heard to shout "Get out!" even after Monson has left, according to Ria Novosti.

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Putin's critics said the jeers were a sign of the public's resentment of their prime minister and former president, said the BBC.

Well-known Russian blogger Alexei Navalny described the incident as "the end of an era."

Putin is planning to run for the presidency again next March. He is notoriously proud of his tough-guy image, appearing bare-chested before cameras on hunting and fishing trips, and even staging an incident in which he "discovered" two Ancient Greek vases during a diving expedition.

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