Russian President Vladimir Putin received an unusual present for his 70th birthday on Friday, a tractor.
As the leaders of several former Soviet countries met at the tsarist-era Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus presented Putin with a gift certificate for the vehicle. Tractors have been the pride of Belarusian industry since Soviet times.
Lukashenko, an autocratic leader who has ruled the former Soviet nation with an iron fist for nearly three decades while cultivating the image of a man of the people, told reporters he used a model in his garden similar to the one he gave to Putin.
It was not clear how the Russian leader responded to the gift, which Lukashenko’s office disclosed.
Putin did not mention the gift in televised remarks at the start of the meeting, when he spoke of the need to discuss ways to resolve conflicts between former Soviet nations.
He also stressed the need to share information to fight terrorism, illegal drugs and other crimes.
Leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States, an alliance of former Soviet countries, have another meeting to attend next week in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana.
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