Fanatical members of the “Putin Youth” group Nashi rally to mark the 55th birthday of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in downtown Moscow, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2007. Nashi is one of the Kremlin-backed youth movements that pays homage to Putin and seeks to promote Russia’s resurrection as a superpower. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
MOSCOW, Oct. 7 (UPI) — More than 10,000 members of Russia’s Nashi youth movement gathered in Moscow Sunday to wish President Vladimir Putin a happy birthday.
Itar-Tass reported the youths set up more than 1,000 Russian flags around the Taras Shevchenko embankment for the presidential birthday celebration, which carried the motto “Congratulate the President, Congratulate the Country.”
The signs on t-shirts with stylized Putin’s portrait read: ‘Our Choice!’
A representative for the movement, Kristina Potupchik, said the Nashi group was giving Putin a large “blanket of peace” adorned with symbols from many of Russia’s ethnic cultures.
“Nashi want this blanket to be a symbol of the multinational and grand Russia,” Potupchik said.
The youth movement also asked all major Russian churches to pray for the president’s health during his birthday and created a giant birthday card to present to Putin.
The Russian news agency said that card was available Sunday for anyone to send birthday greetings to Putin.