Russian President Vladimir Putin has mocked the protesters who have demonstrated against his return to the presidency in recent months by comparing them to the young cranes that he helped learn to migrate last week.
Putin, speaking at the closing of a summit of Pacific rim leaders in Vladivostok, said that, like the protesters, some of the young cranes refused to follow him.
Russian television on September 6 aired footage of Putin leading orphaned chick cranes in flight aboard an ultralight aircraft.
He said the ones who did not follow him were "the weak ones."
"Of course, there are some birds who do not like to fly in a flock and prefer to nest individually," Putin said.
"But what can we do? Even if they are not in our flock, they are still members of our breeding population and should be treated with care."
Putin's flight was overshadowed by the reported deaths
of two of the birds.
Based on reporting by Reuters and AP