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Friday, 23 August, 2002, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Putin is Russia's new pop idol
Putin and the Russian flag
Putin's spin doctors had been trying to raise his profile

A pop song idolising President Putin is making waves in Russia.

DJs at two leading radio stations have been playing the song, but say they cannot be sure where it came from.

President Putin, who is still riding high in the popularity stakes, is rapidly becoming a highly marketable commodity in Russia.

But the Kremlin is not amused.


I want a man like Putin
One full of strength, who doesn't drink or offend
And who won't run away

A Man Like Putin

"If only I could find a man like Putin," croons the female vocalist of pop band Singing Together.

Fed up with a boyfriend who drinks and fights, she decides it is time for someone new, someone strong and true, like Vladimir Putin.

A Man Like Putin has made the play lists of leading radio stations in Russia.

Dynamite FM disc jockey Ira says the song is proving a real hit with the listeners.

But despite its popularity, the tune is shrouded in mystery.

The record does not appear to be on sale anywhere.

Radio stations do not know where their copy came from.

And the band, too, is a newcomer.

Putin the brand

It has all prompted suspicions that the song is official PR.

Kremlin spin doctors worked hard to foster Mr Putin's image, and his approval rating now hovers around 70%.

But what began as spin now appears to have taken on a life of its own.

There are Putin watches, Putin kebabs, and even plans for a Putin tomato.

The Russian president has declared his disapproval of what commentators call his rising cult status.

But like it or not, the Putin label sells, and Putin pop looks like becoming the latest craze.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Sarah Rainsford
"The record does not appear to be on sale anywhere"
See also:

28 Feb 01 | Media reports
08 Dec 00 | Europe
08 Dec 00 | Europe
04 Dec 00 | Europe
01 Dec 00 | Media reports
23 Jul 00 | Europe
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