Yet, as with any love story, skeptics abound.
A mock Putin fan club meets in Armenia / RFERL
There may generally be something creepy about political youth groups, but a youth cult for Russia's aspiring eternal leader, Vladimir Putin, sounds twice as eerie. And we are not even talking about something in Russia, but south of the Caucasus mountain range -- in Russia's ally, Armenia.
And not one group, but two.
The fact that Russia's March presidential elections are just around the corner, is, of course, a mere coincidence. This is a case of true love, plain and simple.
The first Putin pack is the brainchild of an outfit called the International Center of Young Armenians and a youth arm of the Russia-dominated Commonwealth of Independent States. It plans to talk all things Putin at its gatherings, show Putin films, read Putin books, promote Putin thoughts (about Armenia and otherwise) and, basically, instill love for the Russian prime minister and comeback presidential candidate among young Armenians.
Yet, as for any love story, skeptics abound. Armenia may top the Caucasus charts for ties to Russia, but the Putin love-in, coming amidst unprecedented Russian opposition to Putin, nonetheless has been ridiculed and deplored by many Armenians.