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Tuesday, 6 August, 2002, 22:07 GMT 23:07 UK
A tomato too far for Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Putin's popularity only seems to grow

Russian officials have refused to register a new variety of tomato which its creator wants to name the "Putin" after the Russian president.

Tomato
The creator says the tomato is hardy like Mr Putin
Vladimir Putin finds himself in the same position as many a Hollywood celebrity - trying to protect his name and image from unauthorised use.

In contrast to many of his Soviet predecessors, Mr Putin has tried to discourage the Russian public from developing a cult of personality surrounding his image.

But that has not stopped them.

Statues, calendars and paintings of the president are widely available.

And Russians keep trying to name the unlikeliest things after Mr Putin - including a cake, a cathedral, a collective farm and now, a new variety of tomato.

Tough tomato

The people of Chelyabinsk in the Urals seem particularly prone to honouring their president.

The city was already home to a Putin Bar, selling Vladimir cocktails and Putin pretzels, before the Chelyabinsk pensioner invented his new variety of tomato.

He wants to register its name as Putin because it is tough and hardy.

But local bureaucrats have drawn the line at tomatoes, saying that calling fruit or vegetables after the president is taking adulation a little too far.

See also:

11 Jul 02 | Europe
10 Jul 02 | Media reports
15 Jun 01 | Media reports
28 Feb 01 | Media reports
11 Nov 00 | Media reports
17 Dec 00 | Media reports
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