Russian President Vladimir Putin turned 70 on Friday amid fawning congratulations
from subordinates and a plea from Orthodox Patriarch Kirill for all to pray for his good health.
Putin, who vowed to end the chaos which gripped Russia after the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, is facing the most serious
military crisis any Kremlin chief has faced for at least a generation since the Soviet-Afghan war of 1979-89.
Obsequious officials hailed Putin as the saviour of modern Russia while the patriarch of Moscow and All Russia implored the country to say two days of special prayers so that God grants Putin “health and longevity”.
Kirill said “we pray to you, our Lord God, for the head of the Russian State, Vladimir Vladimirovich, and ask you to give him your rich mercy and generosity.
“Grant him health and longevity, and deliver him from all the resistances of visible and invisible enemies, confirm him in wisdom and spiritual strength, for all, Lord hear and have mercy,” Kirill said.
Opponents such as jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny said that Putin has led Russia down a dead end towards ruin, building a brittle system of incompetent sycophants that will ultimately collapse and bequeath chaos.
Supporters said Putin saved Russia from destruction by an arrogant and aggressive West.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov added that “today, our national leader, one of the most influential and outstanding personalities of our time, the number one patriot in the world, President of the Russian Federation turns 70 years old!”
“Putin has changed the global position of Russia and forced the world to reckon with the position of our great state.’’ (NAN)