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Page last updated at 21:53 GMT, Monday, 6 October 2008 22:53 UK

Stop 'Putin St' names, urges PM

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin crushed a separatist rebellion in Chechnya

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would prefer not to have streets named after him and statues erected in his honour, his spokesman has said.

Dmitry Peskov said Mr Putin would not pressure officials to stop the practice, "but he himself would prefer it if this did not happen".

His comments came after a street in the capital of troubled Chechnya was renamed in Mr Putin's honour.

Critics have accused Mr Putin of creating a personality cult around him.

Mr Putin, who is hugely popular in Russia, served as president for two terms before moving to become prime minister.

'Saviour'

Chechnya's pro-Moscow leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, announced on Sunday that Grozny's main street would be re-named Putin Boulevard.

Mr Putin launched an all-out military attack on Chechnya in 1999 to crush a separatist rebellion which had forced out Russian forces in an earlier war.

Tens of thousands of people were killed in the conflict and large swathes of Grozny destroyed.

Mr Kadyrov described Mr Putin as "the saviour of the Chechen people... he saved us from genocide."

"I am sure 99% of the Chechen people support me in this because he deserves to have the main street renamed after him," he said.

But Mr Peskov, speaking to reporters on a visit to the ex-Soviet Belarus, played down Mr Putin's support for such gestures.

"That goes not just for re-naming streets in his honour, but also various statues that have been there for several years, his photographs on school textbooks and so forth. On the whole, he does not support this," he was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.


SEE ALSO
Insight: Who runs Russia?
15 Sep 08 |  Europe
Profile: Vladimir Putin
06 May 08 |  Europe
Country profile: Russia
28 Aug 08 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Russia
27 Aug 08 |  Country profiles

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