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Video of Putin Rejecting Priest's Kiss Goes Viral
Natalia Antonova - Moscow Times - themoscowtimes.com - 8.7.12 - JRL 2012-143

A video of President Vladimir Putin shaking his fist at an Orthodox priest who kissed his hand went viral on the Internet on Tuesday, prompting an explanation from Putin's spokesman.

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk
file photo
The kissing incident occurred a day earlier, when Putin visited the famous Valaam monastery on Lake Ladoga to attend a meeting of the Russian Geographical Society. Putin heads the society's supervisory board.

In footage uploaded on YouTube by state-run broadcaster RT, formerly known as Russia Today, Putin is clearly taken aback by the priest's behavior.

After shaking hands with Moscow region Governor Sergei Shoigu and other society board members, a priest grabs Putin's hand and bends at the knees to plant a kiss on the back of the head of state's hand.

As a reflex, Putin then clenches his palm into a fist and grimaces for a split second before reaching for a booklet and trying to look unfazed.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Izvestia on Tuesday that the priest "is a foreigner and very emotional."

Peskov added that Putin and the priest, Father Mefody, had known each other for 10 years and that Putin had warned him about being overaffectionate many times before, hence the hand gesture.

Mefody, who is from Macedonia and serves as an aide to the monastery's head, told Interfax that there was nothing wrong with kissing a president's hand.

"We have this tradition in the Balkans of always honoring your superiors, and I always kiss the hands of parents, grandparents and so forth as a sign of love and respect," he was quoted as saying.

Keywords: Russia, Government, Politics - Russian News - Russia - Johnson's Russia List

 

A video of President Vladimir Putin shaking his fist at an Orthodox priest who kissed his hand went viral on the Internet on Tuesday, prompting an explanation from Putin's spokesman.

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Desk
file photo
The kissing incident occurred a day earlier, when Putin visited the famous Valaam monastery on Lake Ladoga to attend a meeting of the Russian Geographical Society. Putin heads the society's supervisory board.

In footage uploaded on YouTube by state-run broadcaster RT, formerly known as Russia Today, Putin is clearly taken aback by the priest's behavior.

After shaking hands with Moscow region Governor Sergei Shoigu and other society board members, a priest grabs Putin's hand and bends at the knees to plant a kiss on the back of the head of state's hand.

As a reflex, Putin then clenches his palm into a fist and grimaces for a split second before reaching for a booklet and trying to look unfazed.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Izvestia on Tuesday that the priest "is a foreigner and very emotional."

Peskov added that Putin and the priest, Father Mefody, had known each other for 10 years and that Putin had warned him about being overaffectionate many times before, hence the hand gesture.

Mefody, who is from Macedonia and serves as an aide to the monastery's head, told Interfax that there was nothing wrong with kissing a president's hand.

"We have this tradition in the Balkans of always honoring your superiors, and I always kiss the hands of parents, grandparents and so forth as a sign of love and respect," he was quoted as saying.


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