Boos and catcalls that erupted during Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s speech after the mixed fight duel in Moscow Sunday night have stirred a storm in the media and blogosphere.© RIA Novosti. Alexey Druszinin
RIA Novosti correspondents Marc Bennetts, Alexei Korolyov
When Prime Minister Vladimir Putin climbed into the ring at Moscow's Olympiisky Stadium to congratulate the winner of a mixed fight bout on Sunday evening he was met by a chorus of boos and catcalls from the 20,000-strong crowd.
But while many in the media and Russia's blogosphere saw the whistles and shouts as a rare sign of open dissent against the powerful Putin, others said they had nothing at all to do with the frontrunner in the upcoming presidential polls, and were either directed against the bout's American loser or were simply the frustration of fans desperate to make it to the toilets.
"Dear friends, today is a great holiday for fans of martial arts," Putin, a judo black belt, began after Russian Fedor Emelianenko had defeated American Jeff Monson. That was when the booing began. Putin was visibly shaken, and paused for a moment before raising his voice to continue. The din only ceased when Putin praised Emelianenko as “a real Russian hero" and Monson had been led away.
While state TV channels later edited the catcalls out and made no mention of the incident, Russian and foreign media said it was the first time Putin had been publicly booed. Alexei Navalny, one of Russia’s most prominent bloggers, called it “the end of an era." He also suggested the incident had symbolic significance as it was now known to “everyone in the country, from young to old.”
"The people showed great courage [in booing Putin]," blogger Alexander Morozov wrote. "Maybe they mistook him for [President] Medvedev?" quipped Oleg Kozyrev.
The original video has already turned viral, getting 500,000 hits on Youtube as of Monday morning. "Putin gets booed" was also the top news on the country’s major online search engine, Yandex.
Olympiisky Stadium director Mikhail Moskalyov told the Lenta.ru website the booing was a reaction to the bleeding and limping Monson being led away. A careful examination of the footage shows that the booing seemed to cease when Monson had left the arena. But a lone voice then shouted “Get out!” when Putin continued to speak.
Putin supporters had other explanations fo the boos. Kristina Potupchik, a spokesperson for the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi, said in her LiveJournal blog the crowd was “anxious” to get to the toilets.
Putin, 59, who announced plans to return to the presidency next year, has seen his approval rating fall significantly in recent months. Only 35 percent currently support the premier, according to a poll carried out by the independent Levada Center last month.
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- kylesvetWaited16:31, 21/11/2011If Putin had waited two minutes to start talking it would have never happened. That was called poor timing for Putin. The jeers were going to happen even if Putin was not on the stage...
- arthurborgesSignificant Sentence16:55, 21/11/2011"The din only ceased when Putin praised Emelianenko as “a real Russian hero" and Monson had been led away."
This sentence suggests that the booing was directed at Monson.
- akbarNatural born leader04:57, 22/11/2011If somebody booed PM Putin in Middle east,He probably would have had his face smashed in.Is it because we are not as civilised as Russians or is just he deserves a lot more love and respect for what he trully is the embodiment of decency and good deeds for all.
- lmAlexei Navalny a shameless useful idiot.14:38, 22/11/2011Alexei Navalny, one of Russia’s most prominent bloggers, called it “the end of an era." He also suggested the incident had symbolic significance as it was now known to “everyone in the country, from young to old.”
I have followed this Russian blogger Alexei Navaluy and I came to one conclusion he is nothing but a shameless fool with a pen or to be more correct with the key board. A bitter boy with no sense of direction.
He has nothing good to say or even constructively about Russia yet another useful idiot in the making who serves the misinformed and often confuse few about real life, he serve the narrowed minded objectives for his masters and followers. Russia’s enemies within are downright stupid and dangerous.
The opposition has nothing good to offer but money so they relied on the web to spread their ill perceived prospective about life in Russia. He reminds me of Condoleezza Rice yet another obnoxious woman. A so called Russian expert who does not command the Russian language well enough, she also never had anything good to say about Russia.
But take a closer look at these people they themselves are wolfs in sheep clothing? Have done nothing for anyone but themselves.
When one takes a closer look at journalism in Russia one get the sense they are dangerous to public consumption, the few who do a good job of balance reporting are accuse of toeing the Kremlin line. If a plane crash, a fire, or whatever they are the first to paint Russia black and backwards these people are a danger to society hiding behind human rights and freedom of the press.
When the Oligarchs were caving up the riches of Russia in the past they did not even care about anyone most of them fled to England.
Now we have people like this blogger who make money from causing upheaval and speculations about people in Russia, a shameless and disgusting boy shame on you, you useful idiot.
They all know full well Putin cannot be president forever but he has the country best interest at heart and means well and I do hope Medvedev would do the same as prime
- rochefortfrancoisputin is the men15:16, 22/11/2011Every day I hope Vladimir Putin become the president of my country. He and only he is the men of the situation. He someday he dies world will need to clone him!
- naymaung04It is great courage done from Sir Mr. Putin04:20, 23/11/2011These rings are real fighters to fight.
Sir Mr. Putin is not real fighters.
It is Sir Mr. Putin courage to come to the ring. It shows up his leadership skills of the strong leader in the Russia.