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    'Ironic Quibble': How German Focus Magazine Justifies Insult Against Putin

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    The press service of the German news weekly Focus said the magazine had no intention to insult Russian President Vladimir Putin by calling him a "dog," with the editors claiming that the author used "an ironic quibble" that has no adequate translation in Russian, Deutsche Welle reported, referring to the magazine's press secretary, Alice Wagner.

    In the last issue of the magazine, the editorial board released an article in which German Chancellor Angel Merkel spoke about her attitude towards the Russian leader.

    The author of the article commented on Merkel's statements by saying what can be literally translated into English as follows: "Of course, she is afraid of Putin's dog, but she is definitely not afraid of the dog Putin." (in German: Sie hat zwar Angst vor Putins Hund, aber keine Angst vom Hund Putin).

    Commenting on the publication, the magazine's press secretary, Alice Wagner, told DW that the German word "Hund" ("dog") that was used before Putin's name has another meaning equivalent to the wording "harter Hund" (which can be translated into English as "a tough man" or "a hard nut to crack").

    "Unfortunately, the irony of this sentence, obviously, can't be adequately translated into Russian," the magazine's representative noted.

    However, Russian diplomats have not perceived the joke as funny, with the spokesman for the Russian Embassy in Germany, Denis Mikerin, saying that the Russian embassy in Germany is not satisfied with the response given by Focus concerning the issue.

    "Today I got a quick response of Focus’ Editor-in-Chief Robert Schneider, I am very grateful to him … At the same time, it [the response] does not meet our expectations of a normal bilateral dialogue in the media sphere – an equal, maybe critical but constructive, mutually respectful and responsible dialogue. But we still hope," Mikerin wrote on Twitter.

    U.S. President Donald Trump, Russia's President Vladimir Putin and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker talk during the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany in this still image taken from video, July 7, 2017
    © REUTERS/ Steffen Kugler/Courtesy of Bundesregierung
    The spokesman also listed each meaning of the word “Hund” from the Duden dictionary, saying that all are insulting when used to refer to the Russian president.

    Earlier, the embassy's spokesman said that the Russian diplomatic mission in Germany was waiting for an apology from the magazine.

    According to Mikerin, insults of that kind have "nothing to do with the freedom of opinion and press" and "shouldn't be accepted."

    A similar opinion was expressed by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov who called the statement by Focus magazine inadmissible and noted that the publication casts a shadow on the reputation of the magazine.

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