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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 January, 2004, 07:49 GMT
Virtual Vladimir, cyber superhero
by Steve Rosenberg
BBC Russia correspondent

It may not enjoy the catchiest title on the web: "The President of Russia for Citizens of School Age."

Schoolchild
The website explains how the Russian Constitution works

But once you click on the icon of the happy, smiling cartoon school kid you enter a Kremlin the like of which you've never seen or heard before.

The piped music sounds as if it would be more at home in a corporate video or a supermarket. Still, this is a fun, friendly, almost fluffy world of colourful cartoons and capers.

All designed to grab the attention of young Russians.

On this new website, you can visit Mr Putin's office - there you'll find a virtual Vladimir sitting with his back to you - click the cup of tea on his desk, and he'll answer some important questions.

No, not things like "Does democracy in Russia have a future?" or "When will the conflict in Chechnya finally end?"

President Putin
Vladimir Putin has hit the Web, but will Russian children be impressed?

Questions like these:

"Are you allowed to touch the President with your hands?" The answer - "no".

Or "Who's more important, the President or your mother?" Answer - "your mother".

And "What should you do if you love the president too much?" Answer - "just calm down."

Mind you, for those Russian schoolchildren who may already love their president a little "too much", this site is bound to be a hit.

There are plenty of photos of Mr Putin - playing judo, meeting the Queen of England, smiling with his favourite schoolteacher and posing with a string of animals, including his pet dog, a goat, and a horse.

"What should you do if you love the president too much?"
A question on the Putin website

The site explains what a constitution is, how important it is to serve in the army and recounts the history of the Kremlin.

But its main aim appears to be to turn Vladimir Putin into a children's superhero.

If not Superman, then at least a cyber star that most school kids would welcome as their president.


SEE ALSO:
Putin faces election challengers
30 Dec 03  |  Europe
Country profile: Russia
06 Jan 04  |  Country profiles


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