Vladimir Putin Hearts Polar Bears


Photo credit: World Economic Forum via Flickr/CC BY-SA

File this one under 'Slow News Friday', I guess. Maybe the AFP got sick of all of the nasty oil slick news and the headache-inducing climate bill developments -- so the news agency filed this report about how ex-Russian president Vladimir Putin loves polar bears. Guess the AFP thinks there's something funny about the fact that the same leader that's gone to lengths to craft a steely image on his ex-KGB cred, who once had pictures taken of himself shirtless so his people could see how ripped he was, nonetheless frets about polar bears' well being. The AFP reports that Putin announced that

"The polar bear is under threat. Their population is currently only 25,000 individuals ... The reduction in the surface of the ice sheet, the melting of the ice, all this adds to the complications in the conditions of life" of the polar bears, he said.
Nice one, Putin. But I love how the AFP's angle on the story is to paint the ex-Russian president as some supervillain incapable of love:
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, better known in the West for his tough-guy image, expressed concern Thursday for the fate of Arctic polar bears threatened by climate change ... Although Putin is better known in the West for pushing a muscular foreign policy and tightening control over the Russian political system, he has occasionally shown compassion for wildlife and nature.
Yes, even that cold-hearted, crazy Russian oligarch has feelings too! In all seriousness, I suppose it's nice to know that Putin's got a soft spot for conservation -- a tendency he's actually exhibited in the past, once rerouting oil pipelines for the benefit of animal populations. It's also good to know he cares about polar bears, especially since he's planning on claiming the Arctic as Russia's.

More on Putin and Russia
Russian Environmentalists' Office is Ransacked
Russia to Clean Abandoned Barrels of Oil from Arctic
Russia Again Claims That More of the Arctic Should Be Its Domain

Tags: Animals | Conservation | Endangered Species | Russia