Putin often asks for geographic maps, books on regional geography, philosophy and history
It would take a whole army of sociologists to find out how many and which kind of gifts a Russian person receives throughout his or her life. One may probably say that Russian President Vladimir Putin could be on top of the list of most expensive and luxurious gifts that he has received during several years of his presidency.
Many of the gifts, which Putin receives during his official global trips, are stored in the presidential library in Moscow. One of the recent presents is placed inside a special glass showcase. It is a large silver, diamond-encrusted seal-ring. Putin received this gift from billionaire Robert Kraft in the summer of the current year during an official meeting with US businessmen. The ring was evaluated at some $20,000, newspapers wrote.
Other high-ranking officials of the world may wish to support their valuable gifts with adequate certificates. Uzbek President Islam Karimov gave a model of Registan mosques to Putin. The gift was accompanied with a certificate specifying the mass and the type of silver used in the item.
Those valuable gifts, which do not have any special certificates, are described with the help of encyclopedia, dictionaries and reference books. For example, Putin received a souvenir from the Indian Chamber of Industry and Commerce – a chariot and four horses. The gift was registered in the book of records as “a composition made of white metal.” Specialists of the presidential library examine valuable gifts only outwardly – they do not send them to laboratories. A glass bird can be seen standing on one of the bookshelves in the library. The card underneath the sculpture says: “Tarja Halonen, the President of Finland.”
The presidential library was set up in the Kremlin for the president's convenience, first and foremost. The library counts almost 15,000 books. It is a beautiful round hall with very expensive bookcases of black walnut. There is a round table in the middle of the room. Putin may invite his guests to his library sometimes.
”We put some of the president's gifts here in the library, if they match the interior of the room,” an employee of the library says. “Other presents we keep in other offices of the building.”
Works of art make the majority of the gifts, which the Russian president receives: paintings, figurines, boxes. There are a lot of drawings too, including the ones made by children. Jiang Zemin, the former Chinese leader, gave Putin a spectacular painting of a butterfly: the paint for the painting was made from milled stones. According to ancient Chinese traditions, only aristocratic artists can create such paintings. There are a lot of cultural presents as well: national costumes, icons, embroidery-adorned cloths, and so on and so forth. Putin received kitchen utensils, coffee and tea sets, carpets, and even bed sheets. There are sports outfits and military uniforms as well.
Vladimir Putin received his most unusual gift in the summer of the current year in the city of Kazan. It was a dwarfish horse and the horse gear. The horse was called Vadik: the animal currently lives at one of the stables in the Moscow region.
Kremlin employees say that Putin has received more than 6,000 books. “We mostly receive them by mail from common people. They send all kinds of books: from history textbooks to welding reference books,” a Kremlin librarian said.
There are unique historical books in the presidential library. Fore example, there is the complete collection of laws which used to be in effect in the Russian Empire before the revolution of 1917. One of the oldest books in the library was published in 1776. One can also look through the pages of Vladimir Putin's economic dissertation titled “The strategic planning of the reproduction of resources of a region under the formation of market relations.”
”Putin often asks for geographic maps, books on regional geography, philosophy and history. He may often ask to prepare an article about the interpretation of a certain word from all Russian dictionaries,” the librarian said. “And here is one of the most interesting things here in the library,” the woman said and reached out a silvery cup for hot chocolate. The cup used to belong to Russian Tsar Nikolas II.
”We also have an absolutely remarkable book here. It is the smallest book in the world, which was registered in the Book of Guinness Records. The tiniest book, the text of which can be read under a microscope, contains only one story – “Chameleon” by Anton Chekhov,” the librarian said.
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