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Russians are fetishizing Vladimir Putin


Besides sky-high approval ratings and chunks of neighboring countries, what else might the leader of a resurgent global power want?

Try personalized apparel, a special calendar day, even the odd comparison to godliness.

As Vladimir Putin celebrated his 62nd birthday on Tuesday, there was no shortage of adoration for the third-term president. Many Russians credit him with restoring their country's global influence, not least by thumbing his nose at the West.

But praise for Putin is also manifested in bizarre ways, leading some to believe a cult of personality — intentional or not — is emerging around the famously macho leader.

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