Putin says he will not be president for life

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Putin (updated 11/14/14)
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Putin says he will not be president for life
VLADIVOSTOK, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 13: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting on shipbuilding on November 13, 2014 in Vladivostok, Russia. Putin is on a two-day trip on the way to the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin , left, and Vyacheslav Fetisov, lawmaker and former Soviet and NHL ice hockey star, second left, watch an ice hockey game at the Fetisov Arena at the Russian Far Eastern port of Vladivostok on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
The front page of the local newspaper calls on Russia's President Vladimir Putin to apologise as relations between Australia and Australia hit an all time low after the downing of Flight MH17 in Ukraine, at the G20 Leader's Summit in Brisbane on November 14, 2014. AFP PHOTO/William West (Photo credit should read WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, pauses during a global business leaders summit at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on Friday, May 23, 2014. SPIEF is an annual international conference dedicated to economic and business issues which takes place at the Lenexpo exhibition center May 22-24. Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Russian President Vladimir Putin, flanked by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, left, and Federal Security Service Chief Alexander Bortnikov, right, arrives on a boat after inspecting battleships during a navy parade marking the Victory Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, May 9, 2014. Putin extolled the return of Crimea to Russia before tens of thousands Friday during his first trip to Black Sea peninsula since its annexation. The triumphant visit was quickly condemned by Ukraine and NATO. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a Victory Day Parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, in Red Square, with St. Basil Cathedral in the background, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 9, 2014. Putin made no reference to the situation in Ukraine when he opened Friday's parade, focusing on the historic importance of the victory over Nazi Germany. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, wearing ribbons symbolizing the Soviet victory in WWII, arrive to attend the Victory Day Parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 9, 2014. Russia marks the Victory Day on May 9 holding a military parade in Red Square in Moscow. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian President Vladimir Putin heads to speak at a parade marking the Victory Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, May 9, 2014. Putin extolled the return of Crimea to Russia before tens of thousands Friday during his first trip to Black Sea peninsula since its annexation. The triumphant visit was quickly condemned by Ukraine and NATO. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a navy parade marking the Victory Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, May 9, 2014. Putin extolled the return of Crimea to Russia before tens of thousands Friday during his first trip to Black Sea peninsula since its annexation. The triumphant visit was quickly condemned by Ukraine and NATO. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Russian President Vladimir Putin heads to speak at a navy parade marking the Victory Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, May 9, 2014. Putin extolled the return of Crimea to Russia before tens of thousands Friday during his first trip to Black Sea peninsula since its annexation. The triumphant visit was quickly condemned by Ukraine and NATO. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives on a boat after inspecting battleships during a navy parade marking the Victory Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin extolled the return of Crimea to Russia before tens of thousands Friday during his first trip to Black Sea peninsula since its annexation. The triumphant visit was quickly condemned by Ukraine and NATO. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a navy parade marking the Victory Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, Friday, May 9, 2014. Crimea, which hosts a major Russian Black Sea Fleet base, is set to hold a massive navy parade in the port of Sevastopol. Putin extolled the return of Crimea to Russia before tens of thousands Friday during his first trip to Black Sea peninsula since its annexation. The triumphant visit was quickly condemned by Ukraine and NATO. (AP Photo / Ivan Sekretarev)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, wearing ribbons symbolizing the Soviet victory in WWII, arrive to attend the Victory Day Parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 9, 2014. Thousands of Russian troops march on Red Square in the annual Victory Day parade in a proud display of the nation's military might amid escalating tensions over Ukraine. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev arrive to attend a Victory Day parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 9, 2014. Russia marked the Victory Day on May 9 holding a military parade at Red Square in Moscow. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attend a Victory Day parade, which commemorates the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 9, 2014. Russia marked the Victory Day on May 9 holding a military parade at Red Square. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, back, speaks at a meeting of the leaders of the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 8, 2014. At right is Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon. (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin oversees a military exercise involving Russian nuclear forces in Defense Ministry's situation room outside Moscow, Thursday, May 8, 2014. President Vladimir Putin on Thursday oversaw a military exercise involving Russia's nuclear forces amid escalating tensions over Ukraine. Putin said that the maneuvers involved the military across the entire Russian territory, including the nation's nuclear forces. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russian military's General Staff, right, as he attends a military exercise involving Russia’s nuclear forces, at an undisclosed location outside Moscow, Russia, on Thursday, May 8, 2014. Putin, speaking from the Defense Ministry’s headquarters where he oversaw the exercise along with leaders of several ex-Soviet nations which are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, said that the maneuvers involved the military across the entire Russian territory, including the nation’s nuclear forces. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, centre, attends a meeting of the leaders of the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 8, 2014. At right is Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon. (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko enter a hall for bilateral talks after a meeting of the leaders of the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, May 8, 2014. (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his visit to the Crimean port of Sevastopol on May 9, 2014. Putin's visit to Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in March, is a 'flagrant violation' of Ukraine's sovereignty, authorities in Kiev said today.AFP PHOTO/ YURI KADOBNOV (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his visit to the Crimean port of Sevastopol on May 9, 2014. Putin's visit to Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow in March, is a 'flagrant violation' of Ukraine's sovereignty, authorities in Kiev said today.AFP PHOTO/ YURI KADOBNOV (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian security forces guard a checkpoint outside the southern city of Mykolayiv on May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left 21 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXEY KRAVTSOV (Photo credit should read ALEXEY KRAVTSOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian security forces guard a checkpoint outside the southern city of Mykolayiv on May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left 21 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXEY KRAVTSOV (Photo credit should read ALEXEY KRAVTSOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Ukrainian security forces guard a checkpoint outside the southern city of Mykolayiv on May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left 21 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXEY KRAVTSOV (Photo credit should read ALEXEY KRAVTSOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Armed pro-Russia militiants take part in a rally marking Victory Day in eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left 21 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY (Photo credit should read Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images)
Armed pro-Russia militiants take part in a rally marking Victory Day in eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left 21 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY (Photo credit should read Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images)
Armed pro-Russia militiants take part in a rally marking Victory Day in eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left 21 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote. AFP PHOTO/ ALEXANDER KHUDOTEPLY (Photo credit should read Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images)
A man holds pictures of dead relatives during a Victory Day ceremony at the Unknown Sailor Memorial in the southern Ukrainian city of Odessa on May 9, 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin took a victory lap in his first visit to Crimea since its annexation by Russia, as fighting in eastern Ukraine left at least 21 dead just days ahead of a separatist vote. AFP PHOTO/ ANATOLII STEPANOV (Photo credit should read ANATOLII STEPANOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a media meeting organized by the Russian People's Front in St. Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, April 24, 2014. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has mocked the Internet as a CIA project and pledged to protect Russia’s interest in the online industry. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a meeting of Russia's People's Front in St.Petersburg, Russia, Thursday, April 24, 2014. Ukrainian government troops moved against pro-Russia forces in the east of the country on Thursday and killed at least two of them in clashes at checkpoints manned by the insurgents, the government and insurgents said. Russian President Vladimir Putin decried what he described as a "punitive operation." (AP Photo/RIA Novosti Kremlin, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Royal Dutch Shell's CEO Ben Van Beurden in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Maxim Shipenkov, Pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
CAPTION CORRECTS THE EVENT Russian President Vladimir Putin enters a hall for a video call with the Prirazlomnaya arctic oil platform marking the launch of production in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Maxim Shipenkov, Pool)
Russian President Vladimir Putin leaves after a video call with the Prirazlomnaya arctic oil platform marking the launch of production in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Maxim Shipenkov)
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a video call with the Prirazlomnaya arctic oil platform marking the launch of production in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Friday, April 18, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to the media after a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 17, 2014. President Vladimir Putin on Thursday rejected claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, but recognized for the first time that the troops in unmarked uniforms who had overtaken Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula before its annexation by Moscow were Russian soldiers. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, foreground, leaves after a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 17, 2014. At left is Head of Russian Television Channel One Konstantin Ernst. President Vladimir Putin on Thursday rejected claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, but recognized for the first time that the troops in unmarked uniforms who had overtaken Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula before its annexation by Moscow were Russian soldiers. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow, Thursday, April 17, 2014. President Vladimir Putin on Thursday rejected claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine, but recognized for the first time that the troops in unmarked uniforms who had overtaken Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula before its annexation by Moscow were Russian soldiers. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of a board of trustees of the Russian Geographical Society in a library of Moscow State University in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 15, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Supreme Court Chairman Vyacheslav Lebedev in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, Thursday, April 3, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands at the presentation ceremony of the top military brass in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 28, 2014. Russia's president says Ukraine could regain some arms and equipment of military units in Crimea that did not switch their loyalty to Russia. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Federation Council members in the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Thursday, March 27, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
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MOSCOW (AP) - Vladimir Putin has said he won't remain Russia's president for life and will step down in line with the constitution no later than 2024, according to an interview with a Russian news agency released Sunday.

Staying in office beyond that would be "detrimental for the country and I don't need this," he told the Tass news agency.

Putin, 62, has effectively led Russia since he was first elected in 2000. He stepped aside after two four-year terms to abide by constitutional term limits, but retained power as prime minister and was elected president again in 2012 to a six-year term.

Putin said his decision on whether to run for a fourth term in 2018 will depend on the situation in the country and his "own mood."

Throughout the interview, Putin described efforts at home and abroad that he said were aimed at trying to undermine his rule.

He said the Western sanctions against Russian individuals and businesses over Ukraine were an attempt to punish his friends and were "driven by a desire to cause a split in the elite and then, perhaps, in society." But to the West's chagrin, Putin said, Russian society remained consolidated behind him.

He described Russian laws that restrict foreign funding of non-governmental organizations and foreign ownership of media organizations as necessary to prevent outside interests from influencing Russian politics.

Putin acknowledged that not all Russians support him, which he said was fine as long as their criticism was constructive and they didn't violate the law. But he said his government would crush anyone who tried to weaken the state, describing them as "bacteria."

"They sit inside you, these bacilli, these bacteria, they are there all of the time," Putin said. "But when an organism is strong, you can always keep back the flu because of your immune system."

He said it was wrong to see U.S. newspapers as independent just because they were able to criticize President Barack Obama, suggesting he saw the press as a political tool.

"How can it be independent if it works together with the political opponents of the White House chief?" Putin said. "There is no independence; there is full dependence and the servicing of certain forces."

Putin said Russia also has such critical newspapers and sometimes he has to read them because his press secretary brings him "all sorts of filth."

See more pics of Putin:

26 PHOTOS
Putin with a persian leopard and doing other rugged things, like fishing
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Putin says he will not be president for life
In this Oct. 9, 2008 file photo a two and a half month female tiger cub, no name yet given, looks at, at the Novo Ogaryovo residence of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, outside Moscow. Putin said on TV Thursday Dec. 16, 2010 he loves Buffy, his new puppy, even though the Belgian shepherd leaves puddles and piles around the house. Putin, who was referred to as "Alpha Dog" by U.S. diplomats in a leaked diplomatic cable published recently by WikiLeaks, is in his element around animals. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Pool, File)
FILE - In this file photo taken on Monday, Aug. 3, 2009, the then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ia seen riding a horse while traveling in the mountains of the Siberian Tyva region (also referred to as Tuva), Russia, during his short vacation. Putin has become alternately notorious and beloved for an array of adventurous stunts, including posing with a tiger cub and riding a horse bare-chested. As the campaign for Austrian general elections enters its grueling final phase, two leading contenders have gone beyond rolling up their shirt sleeves: They’ve taken off their shirts. Giving new meaning to a chest-to-chest race, the topless duel between populist candidate Frank Stronach and Heinz-Christian Strache who heads of the anti-immigrant and EU-skeptic Freedom Party reflects the intensity of the battle between the two for the protest vote in the Sept. 29 elections. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, POOL, File)
FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008 file pool photo then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a tranquilizer gun in a Russian Academy of Sciences reserve in Russia's Far East. Putin has become alternately notorious and beloved for an array of adventurous stunts, including posing with a tiger cub and riding a horse bare-chested. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, POOL, file)
FILE In this Sept. 2010 photo released on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin carries a hunting rifle during his trip in Ubsunur Hollow in the Siberian Tyva region (also referred to as Tuva), on the border with Mongolia, Russia. Putin has become alternately notorious and beloved for an array of adventurous stunts, including posing with a tiger cub and riding a horse bare-chested. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Government Press Service, file)
File - In this file photo taken on Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin locks a collar with a satellite tracker on the tranquilized five-year-old Ussuri tiger in a Russian Academy of Sciences reserve in Russia's Far East as he took a part in the national program for preserving the population of the Ussuri tiger conducted by researchers of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Animal-loving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been accused of staging his famous encounter with a tigress three years ago. St. Petersburg-based environmentalists Dmitry Molodtsov says that photos of the animal that Putin tagged with a GPS collar in 2008 and subsequent images of what preservationists claimed was the same tigress in fact showed two different animals, indicating that Putin's tigress never was let out into the wild. Molodtsov claimed Friday that Putin's tigress was borrowed from a local zoo for the occasion. A coordinator at the government-funded Amur tiger conservation project dismissed his claim as untrue.(AP Photo / RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool)
In this Sunday, Aug. 31, 2008 file photo Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, looks at the tranquilized five-year-old Ussuri tiger as researchers put a collar with a satellite tracker on the animal in a Russian Academy of Sciences reserve in Russia's Far East. Russia's animal-loving leader Vladimir Putin has been accused of staging his famous encounter with a tigress three years ago. St. Petersburg-based environmentalist Dmitry Molodtsov says that photos of the animal that Putin tagged with a GPS collar in 2008 and subsequent images of what preservationists claimed was the same tigress in fact showed two different animals, indicating that Putin's tigress never was let out into the wild. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool, file)
In this Aug. 31, 2008 file photo Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a head of the tranquilized five-year-old Ussuri tiger as a researcher puts a collar with a satellite tracker on the animal in a Russian Academy of Sciences reserve in Russia's Far East. Putin said on TV Thursday Dec. 16, 2010 he loves Buffy, his new puppy, even though the Belgian shepherd leaves puddles and piles around the house. Putin, who was referred to as "Alpha Dog" by U.S. diplomats in a leaked diplomatic cable published recently by WikiLeaks, is in his element around animals. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Pool, File)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin poses with a two and a half month female tiger cub, no name yet given, looks at, at the Novo Ogaryovo residence of outside Moscow, on Thursday night, Oct. 9, 2008. The cub was presented to Putin on Oct. 7, when he was celebrating his 56 birthday.(AP Photo. RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, pool)
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin poses with a two and a half month female tiger cub, no name yet given, looks at, at the Novo Ogaryovo residence of outside Moscow, on Thursday night, Oct. 9, 2008. The cub was presented to Putin on Oct. 7, when he was celebrating his 56 birthday.(AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, pool)
A two and a half-month-old female tiger cub, no name yet given, looks on at the Novo Ogaryovo, residence of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, unseen, outside Moscow, on Thursday night, Oct. 9, 2008. The cub was presented to Putin on Oct. 7, when he was celebrating his 56 birthday. (AP Photo. RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Pool)
In this Sept. 1, 2013 file photo, a Siberian tiger prowls at the Federal Center for rehabilitation of rare species of animals in the village of Alexeyevka in the Russian Far East during Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit. A rare Siberian tiger released into the wild by Russian President Vladimir Putin is keeping farmers in northeastern China on edge. China’s official Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014, that the animal, named Ustin, bit and killed 15 goats and left another three missing on Sunday and Monday on a farm in Heilongjiang province's Fuyuan county. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service, File)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin caresses a Persian leopard cub as he visits the Persian leopard breeding and rehabilitation centre in the National Park in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, on February 4, 2014. A leopard was announced in 2011 to be one of the official mascots of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Perhaps the most important vote in Russia's public selection of a new Olympic mascot was cast when Vladimir Putin said he wanted a funky leopard to represent the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL / ALEXEI NIKOLSKY (Photo credit should read ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin caresses a Persian leopard cub as he visits the Persian leopard breeding and rehabilitation centre in the National Park in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, on February 4, 2014. A leopard was announced in 2011 to be one of the official mascots of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Perhaps the most important vote in Russia's public selection of a new Olympic mascot was cast when Vladimir Putin said he wanted a funky leopard to represent the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL / ALEXEI NIKOLSKY (Photo credit should read ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin caresses a Persian leopard cub as he visits the Persian leopard breeding and rehabilitation centre in the National Park in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, on February 4, 2014. A leopard was announced in 2011 to be one of the official mascots of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. Perhaps the most important vote in Russia's public selection of a new Olympic mascot was cast when Vladimir Putin said he wanted a funky leopard to represent the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. AFP PHOTO/ RIA-NOVOSTI/ POOL / ALEXEI NIKOLSKY (Photo credit should read ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Russian President Vladimir Putin pets a snow leopard cub at the snow leopard sanctuary in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014. Putin checked in Tuesday at a preserve for endangered snow leopards and visited a group of cubs born last summer in the mountains above the growing torrent of activity in Sochi for the Winter Games. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
In this photo taken on Saturday, July 20, 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a big pike he caught while fishing during a mini-break in the Siberian Tyva region (also referred to as Tuva), Russia. Putin said it's his first pike of such a big size. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
In this photo taken on Saturday, July 20, 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a big pike he caught while fishing during a mini-break in the Siberian Tyva region, Russia. Putin said it's his first pike of such a big size. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
In this photo taken on Saturday, July 20, 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, speaks with a huntsman holding a big pike Putin caught while fishing during a mini-break in the Siberian Tyva region (also referred to as Tuva), Russia. Putin said it's his first pike of such a big size. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
In this photo taken on Saturday, July 20, 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin fishes during a mini-break in the Siberian Tyva region (also referred to as Tuva), Russia. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
** FILE ** In this Aug. 15, 2007 file photo Vladimir Putin, then Russian President, fishes in the headwaters of the Khemchik River in the Tuva region of Siberia, Russia. In its September "Sexy Rating" list, Russia's Sex & the City magazine ranked now Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the second sexiest politician. Ahead of the pack is Boris Nemtsov, a former leader of opposition party Union of the Right Forces now viewed by many as a spent force. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Dmitry Astakhov, Presidential Press Service, File)
In this photo taken on Saturday, July 20, 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, fishes during a mini-break in the Siberian Tyva region, Russia. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
In this photo taken on Saturday, July 20, 2013, Russian President Vladimir fishes during a mini-break in the Siberian Tyva region, Russia. A sign in the spoon-bait reads ?zar Fish. Using this soon-bait Putin managed to catch a 21-kilogram pike. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
FILE - In this Sept. 2010 photo released on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010, then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin carries a hunting rifle during his trip in Ubsunur Hollow in the Siberian Tyva region (also referred to as Tuva), on the border with Mongolia, Russia. Putin has become alternately notorious and beloved for an array of adventurous stunts, including posing with a tiger cub and riding a horse bare-chested. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, POOL, file)
FILE - In this file photo taken on Monday, Aug. 3, 2009, then Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin swims while traveling in the mountains of the Siberian Tyva region (also referred to as Tuva), Russia, during his short vacation. Putin has become alternately notorious and beloved for an array of adventurous stunts, including posing with a tiger cub and riding a horse bare-chested. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, POOL, file)
FILE In this Wednesday Sept. 5, 2012 file photo Russian President Vladimir Putin flies in a motorized hang glider alongside two Siberian white cranes, on the Yamal Peninsula, in Russia. Putin has become alternately notorious and beloved for an array of adventurous stunts, including posing with a tiger cub and riding a horse bare-chested. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
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