Russian Presidential election
Kremlin pets: cat follows dog
It is still unclear to what extent Russia’s next president, Dmitry Medvedev, will follow the course of his predecessor Vladimir Putin. But he shares Putin’s love of pets.
Throughout his eight years of rule, Putin carefully shielded his private life from the public eye. While his wife Lyudmila had a low profile and his daughters were never reported on at all, the Kremlin leader’s black Labrador Connie became a true celebrity.
The friendly and tranquil dog often appeared in front of cameras during many of Putin’s meeting with international leaders. When Putin was discussing plans for Russia’s own satellite global positioning system (GPS), he asked aides when he would be able to buy a collar for Connie with a built-in GPS tracker so he could keep an eye on the dog’s whereabouts.
On May 7, when Putin hands over to Medvedev the symbol of presidential power — a golden chain of the Order of St Andrew – Medvedev’s cat Dorofei (Dorotheus in English) will take over the title of First Pet from Connie.
Ahead of that, the Russian media, discouraged from digging too deeply into Medvedev’s personal records, are focusing on Dorofei instead.
According to Trud daily, the four-year-old Dorofei belongs to a rare Neva Masquerade breed, revealing Medvedev’s love of St Petersburg – his and Putin’s home town on the Neva River.
Putin has brought many of his St Petersburg aquaintances to top government jobs in Moscow. St Petersburg friends form a considerable part of Medvedev’s entourage as well.
“One more guy from St Petersburg,” wrote Trud, referring to the cat.
In fact Medvedev’s wife Svetlana bought D0rofei in Moscow.
“When Svetlana came to pick up the kitten, she was not the first lady yet, just a simple and very nice woman,” Izvestia quoted the owner of a breeding company Great Hunter, Irina Ilminskaya, as saying. “She played a bit with the kittens and said they always kept cats in their home.”
The cat’s name was given by the breeder and is popular in Russian fairy tales.
According to the Russian media, Dorofei is a rather tough character — independent and unwilling to follow protocol. He is also a great fighter, keen to protect his territory and grow it at the expense of his neighbours.
One of such fights nearly ended in his death and left scars on Dorofei’s body.
“According to rumours Dorofei fought another VIP cat belonging to (former Soviet President) Mikhail Gorbachev,” said Trud adding that Gorbachev’s cat won. Press reports said that following this fierce battle, Dorofei was castrated.
Izvestia said Dorofei’s half-brother Solomon was still for sale at the breeding company and offered its readers a chance to buy ”a close relative of the nation’s First Cat”.