Russia's Putin and Medvedev are children's book heroes
A Russian publisher has released a children's book in which boys called Vova and Dima, closely resembling Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev, work and play together.
The book's publishers, Maxim Perlin and Vladimir Tabak, presented the book on Thursday ahead of Putin's 59th birthday on Friday and said they would send the premier a copy.
The 14-page book with black and white illustrations for colouring in has a print run of 25,000 copies and will sell for around 150 rubles ($4.62), the authors said.
"We intend to sell the Dima and Vova colouring book in all the main Moscow and Russian bookshops," Tabak said.
While Vova gets up early at 6:45 am and does exercises in front of a map of Russia, Dima is shown in a bedroom decorated with a poster of rock group Deep Purple and the Apple logo -- two of the politician's enthusiasms.
The two boys ride tricycles and play badminton together and are also shown working at the White House and Kremlin.
"All the children of Russia know Vova and Dima well. And many of them want in future to be similar to our heroes," the book's blurb reads.
Last year, the same authors released an erotic calendar for Putin's birthday in which students from Moscow State University posed in lingerie with captions such as "You put out the forest fires, but I'm still burning."
The calendar was briefly on sale in Moscow supermarkets for 260 roubles (about $8.5).
While the colouring book looks like an ironic spoof, the creators, who also run a PR agency, insisted that it was not intended as satirical.
"It's absolutely not a joke," said author Pavel Kutukov, 21, a sociology student. "It's our fun idea as a children's present."
"It's a fun, beautiful project. I think Putin will like this too," publisher Perlin said.
The book went to press before the announcement on September 24 that Putin would stand for another presidential term, while Medvedev would stand aside and take on the role of prime minister.
The authors have a "positive" attitude to Putin, Tabak said. "For me, I can't see that there are any internal barriers to having a respectful attitude to him."
In 2004, a Russian publishing house published a children's book about the adventures of Putin's labrador Connie.
© 2011 AFP