German move to withdraw Putin prize won't hurt ties: aide
A German panel's decision to withdraw a private role model prize from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would not affect ties between Moscow and Berlin, his spokesman said Saturday.
"This has nothing to do with Russian-German ties," Prime Minister Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told AFP. The Putin government will "treat with respect any decision by this organisation", he added.
The Werkstatt Deutschland organisation on Saturday cited "massive criticism in the media and the political world" over its plans to give Putin the Quadriga Award that recognises "role models for enlightenment, dedication and the public good."
The embarrassing turnabout comes as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gears up to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel for talks in the northern city of Hanover on Monday and Tuesday.
Many observers expect Putin, who spent five years as a KGB agent in Dresden under communism, to return to the Kremlin in 2012 presidential polls.
© 2011 AFP