On October 7, Verona Mayor Federico Sboarina and Antonio Fallico, Chairman of Banca Intesa, congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin on his 66th birthday from the stage of the ancient Roman amphitheater known as Arena di Verona.
"We wish you good health, and hope that you will continue your work – the work that helped change our world," Fallico said in Russian, shortly after Italian pop singer Toto Cutugno performed the famous Russian romance song "Dark Eyes".
Первым поздравил Путина с днем рождения мэр Вероны прямо со сцены амфитеатра. Там в ночь на воскресенье прошла европейская премьера российского ледового шоу «Ромео и Джульетта». А итальянский банкир удивил всех: он следом поздравил по-русски. pic.twitter.com/DbqUesuyDT— Кремлевский пул РИА (@Kremlinpool_RIA) 7 октября 2018 г.
Taking stock of this development, Sputnik recalls some of the more extravagant birthday gifts and wishes that Putin received over the past two decades.
Never Back Down
In 2002, then-President of Moldova Vladimir Voronin presented Putin with a crystal statuette of a crocodile, stating that “a crocodile is the only animal that does not back down.”
Tiny and Dangerous
In 2008, during his tenure as the prime minister, Putin was gifted a two-month old Siberian tiger cub. The little tiger was later donated to the Safari Park in Gelendzhik.
In 2013, Vladimir Putin was attending the APEC summit in Bali during his birthday, where he was toasted by the attending world leaders who sang “Happy Birthday to You” for him. The Russian president also received a gift of sake from Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, while Chinese President Xi Jinping brought him a cake.
A Duvet Unlike Any Other
And in 2017, Silvio Berlusconi brought Putin a gift of a custom-made duvet which featured a life-size image of the two statesmen shaking hands, with a backdrop of Russian and Italian landmarks.