MOSCOW, October 7 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin, who turned 61 on Monday, was not able to fit celebrations into his tight schedule but he was happy to receive gifts and greetings from world leaders at an Asian economic forum in Indonesia, his press secretary said.
“The president has a schedule that leaves no room for celebrations: we flew all night, just arrived, he immediately went to attend an event and still didn’t have time to take a break,” Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Russia’s Dozhd television.
Peskov said the president had three scheduled bilateral meetings on the first day of the October 7-8 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bali – with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Yudhoyono surprised Putin by singing and strumming out “Happy Birthday” on a guitar when the Russian president attended an APEC luncheon at the Sofitel Hotel with all 20 heads of state participating in the conference. Other leaders extended their birthday greetings to Putin as well.
“It was a surprise, and he [Putin] was certainly delighted with that,” Peskov said.
In addition, Japan’s Abe presented the Russian president with a bottle of sake, the traditional Japanese rice vodka, while China’s Xi handed Putin a birthday cake.