This is too bizarre…

Russian blogs and Internet message boards have been awash with chatter since June 28, when Channel One, Russia’s largest broadcaster, showed Mr. Putin strolling past the golden domes and white stone of an Orthodox church inside the Kremlin grounds.

The President paused at a gaggle of tourists, and he seemed struck by the presence of a shy boy.

He grasped the fair-haired child by the arm, squatted in front of him, and asked his name. “Nikita,” the boy answered.

Without further conversation, Mr. Putin quickly pulled up the boy’s white tank-top and planted a kiss on his belly. Then he stood up, and brusquely walked away.

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