No Hockey or J.Lo, but Vladimir Putin Still Gets 450 Roses for His Birthday


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President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in Moscow on Wednesday.

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Pool photo by Alexei Nikolsky

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia celebrated his 64th birthday on Friday with an outsize gift from his country’s Parliament: a bouquet of 450 roses, one from each member of the State Duma, or lower house of Parliament.

Russian men frequently receive large bouquets of flowers on their birthday, and Mr. Putin has used the occasion to generate positive publicity and burnish a cult of personality.

“Let’s send him a basket in gratitude for his incessant labor,” said Valentina V. Tereshkova, a lawmaker who made history in 1963 as the first woman in space.

Russians presumed that the bouquet sent to Mr. Putin might actually contain 449 or 451 roses, because an even number of flowers is traditionally reserved for funerals.

Last year Mr. Putin celebrated his birthday by playing hockey in Sochi with Russian stars of the National Hockey League, Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu and a several billionaires.

The president’s team won, naturally, and he scored seven goals.

Mr. Putin’s press secretary, Dmitri S. Peskov, said the Russian leader would not participate in public events on his birthday this year and would instead celebrate with family and close friends.

Despite the modest festivities, congratulations poured in from across Russia. Patriarch Kirill I of the Russian Orthodox Church praised Mr. Putin for devoting his “life to the service of Russia,” and said his “name is connected with a number of events that have already entered the annals of national and world history.”

Birthdays are frequently used by leaders of former Soviet states to create pageants of national unity. Some more authoritarian leaders have even declared their birthdays national holidays.

Ramzan A. Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya who won 98 percent of the vote in last month’s presidential election, was inaugurated for a third term on Wednesday, a day picked to coincide with his 40th birthday.

“Today is the birthday of the strongest and most outstanding politician of modern times — the President of Russia Vladimir Putin,” Mr. Kadyrov said via social media on Friday.

In 2013, Jennifer Lopez sang at the 56th birthday party of Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, president of Turkmenistan. After being criticized by human rights activists, Ms. Lopez issued an apology. Her publicist said she would not have accepted the invitation if she had known about Turkmenistan’s record of abuse.

Mr. Berdymukhammedov’s predecessor, Saparmurat Niyazov, who once erected a gold statue in his likeness, commemorated his birthday each year on Flag Day.

Citizens, however, knew which celebration was the true state holiday.

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