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January 21, 2008

Russian journalist Oleg Blotsky holds his book entitled "Vladimir Putin: Life Story" during a news conference in Moscow, January 21, 2002.

   He is fearless, altruistic, steel-willed, hospitable, unbelievably hardy, unpretentious and warm -- and he has lost none of these qualities since becoming Russia's president.

   It is a scrupulously unbiased snapshot of Vladimir Putin if you believe the author of the first volume of a Kremlin-backed trilogy on Putin's life, written in the unmistakable style the Soviets once reserved for Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin.

   "I do not think it is a eulogy. I simply conveyed what people (who met Putin) said," Oleg Blotsky told a news conference on Monday as he posed for photos with his "Vladimir Putin".

   The book, complete with a genealogical tree back to the beginning of the 18th century and a chapter dedicated to Putin's ancestors, spans from his birth to the start of his career as a KGB spy.

   Putin contributed to the work with extensive interviews to Blotsky.The result is a selection of memories by Putin's friends and acquaintances who hold nothing but the warmest recollections of him. The only person in the book who does not heap praise on the president is Putin himself, who is characteristically humble.

   Praise bestowed on the Kremlin leader ranges from young judoist Putin fighting "like a snow leopard" to many years later his being visibly moved when decorated war veterans in the Kremlin stood up in salute as he entered the hall.








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