Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin likened white ribbons worn by protesters last week in Moscow to condoms.
“To be honest, when I saw on the TV screens what some people had attached to themselves, it’s not very polite, I thought it was an anti-AIDS campaign; I thought that they had stuck condoms on themselves,” Putin said in a televised phone- in show today. “My first thought was it’s okay, they are campaigning for a healthy lifestyle.”
Tens of thousands of Russians protested in Moscow and other cities on Dec. 10 against alleged fraud in Dec. 4 parliamentary elections in the biggest anti-Putin demonstrations since he came to power 12 years ago. Organizers at the rally in central Moscow, on an island south of the Kremlin, handed out white ribbons to the participants.
Soon after Putin’s comments, which were televised live nationwide, bloggers circulated a photo mock-up of the Russian leader posing for his annual New Year’s greeting in front of the Kremlin, with a condom attached to his coat lapel.
--Editors: Leon Mangasarian, Balazs Penz.
To contact the reporters on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at firstname.lastname@example.org Lyubov Pronina in Moscow at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at firstname.lastname@example.org