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Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash.

The Kremlin palace in Moscow.

Vladimir Putin is a well-known caninophile. His canines accompany him for official meetings at his residence, serving as a humanizing prop or an intimidating one. He has also been said to have compared ex-US President George Bush's Scottish terrier, Barney to his black Labrador Koni. He sardonically commented on the comparison by saying, "Bigger, faster, stronger," intimidating Bush.

His love for dogs has given other world leaders a plausible excuse to gift him puppies in hope of establishing cordial relations with Russia. Back in 2017, he received a puppy as a belated birthday gift from then Turkmenistan's President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.


China is known to use Panda for diplomatic purposes, Russia seems to have also joined the league. Analysts might quote that Russia has invented a new chapter in world diplomacy, namely Dog Diplomacy. But, there is one particular rare anecdote about Putin and his beloved dog Konni.


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pin_description="" dam="1" site_id=21600655 caption="Vladimir%C2%A0Putin%20plays%20with%20Konni." original_size="500x334" photo_credit="Kremlin.ru%2C%20CC%20BY%203.0%20Vladimir Putin plays with Konni. wikimedia


Recently the outgoing chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel made headlines for the last time. She firmly asserted that it is important to talk to the Taliban, and Germany would take steps to evacuate the remaining German citizens from Afghanistan. The outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel was seen as a good interlocutor between Russia and the west. It is reportedly said that she was quite impressed by Putin's famously menacing speech at the 2007 Munich Security Conference. Wherein he attacked the "unipolar order" dominated by the United States. Publicly she was impassive but, backstage her comment was: "Cool speech!" ("Geile Rede!")

The relations between Merkel and Putin are all but cordial. Angela Merkel, having spent the first 35 years of her life on the eastern side of the iron curtain is well versed with the various intimidation tactics deployed by authoritarian regimes. On the contrary, Vladimir Putin being a former KGB agent is well versed with various intimidating tactics.

It was on 21st January 2007, the two world leaders met at Bocharov Ruchei, the Russian President's summer residence in Sochi. And during the onset of the meeting Putin's pet dog, Konni wandered into the room, leading Putin to ask Merkel, who reportedly has a "deep-seated fear of dogs", "The dog does not bother you, does she? She's a friendly dog and I'm sure she will behave herself." Merkel promptly responded in Russian, a language in which she is surprisingly fluent, "She doesn't eat journalists, after all." Konni then proceeded to sniff the German Chancellor and sat at her feet. Snapshots of the meeting, clearly show Putin smirking at Merkel's apparent discomfort.


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pin_description="" dam="1" site_id=21600655 caption="Vladimir%20Putin%20smirking%20at%20the%20apparent%20uncomfort%20of%20Angela%20Merkel." original_size="500x334" photo_credit="Kremlin.ru%2C%20CC%20BY%203.0%20Vladimir Putin smirking at the apparent uncomfort of Angela Merkel. wikimedia


It is said that Putin after learning about Merkel's fear of dogs, apologized to her. A prominent magazine later reported that she had told journalists: "I understand why he has to do this -- to prove he's a man. ... He's afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this." Nevertheless, Konni the beloved pet dog of Vladimir Putin passed away in February 2015 at the age of 15.

The whole anecdote tells a tale of a man who is afraid of his own weaknesses and is trying to prove himself over others. Angela Merkel's impeccable career as the German chancellor has come to an end. It is up to her successor Armin Laschet to take up the reins of Germany and navigate her through the divisive, treacherous and most uncertain times of the century.


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It's A Wonderful World: A Memoir

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