MOSCOW, October 7 (Itar-Tass) —— Vladimir Putin turns 60 this Sunday, only 60. He has worked at the top state posts for more than 13 years, and it is the third jubilee he marks at the post as Russian president. When he was premier, he marked ordinary birthdays.
Children who were born in the year when the first Russian president named his successor are already seventh-year school pupils. The small Russians born during the years, who live in "Putin's epoch", already number almost 22 million (Australia's population).
Taking office as head of state in the first year of the new century and the new millennium, Putin became the first new-type Russian leader.
The words "default" and "the war in Chechnya" for the new generation have already become history. The young generation learns to use new technologies and prepares for new unified state exams.
Russians are used to see the president in good form and always able to work despite long distances, various time zones, seasons, the mood and the state of health. Reporters who work with the president do not remember any case of his taking a sick leave or just having a vacation without work. When he has a week's holiday in Sochi it is always a working holiday.
When he was premier and as president, Putin always marked his birthdays while working. Only to mark his 55th birthday, he invited his colleagues to a dinner in the Kremlin. He is not fond of grand parties and usually leaves on October 7 for his native St. Petersburg. He intends to do so this time, right after returning from the Ulyanovsk-Dushanbe trip.
The president's press secretary Dmitry Peskov told Itar-Tass that Putin would mark the jubilee in St. Petersburg in the circle of his relatives and friends. The press secretary repeats it before the president's birthdays and other holidays, as Putin is known for his reserved attitude to talks about private things. But the president continues to demonstrate that he is full of energy, have a lot of plans and keeps to his principles and habits.
Presidential administration officials joke that the best gift for the chief is hard work.
The president notes that he works hard not for PR effects, but just since it is interesting for him. He asked not to be offended when he had no time to open packed gifts.
But he finds time to surprise. He is a judo master and a high-class skier, and sits at the piano to play or comes to the ice as a hockey player. Recently he flew a hang-glider to lead a flock of young Siberian white cranes. And even weak birds flew up to follow him on the second flight.