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Putin Is King As Far As Larry Is Concerned

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin smiles in a November 2010 interview with Larry King in Moscow.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin smiles in a November 2010 interview with Larry King in Moscow.
Does Larry King have a man crush on Russia's once and future president? If the television personality's public utterances are anything to go by, it would appear so.

At an interview with Russia Today on October 5 -- the English-language mouthpiece of the Putin government -- King positively gushed about all the warm feelings that the Kremlin's strongman inspires in him.

"I can't explain it. I had an affinity with him. You try to get that with a lot of guests, but I really had it with [Putin]," King said. "He has 'it,' whatever 'it' is."

The 'it' King was referring to was apparently some sort of animal spirit, the kind of unleashed masculinity that leads to provocative publicity campaigns like this. (Incidentally, Russia Today reported in 2008 that Vladimir Putin looked better with his shirt off than US president Barack Obama. Really.)

"You know, there are certain people that come into your life that you like," King said. "They change a room. They have a certain magnetism." He also noted that "power is an aphrodisiac."

The interview with Russia Today came after King moderated a two-day oil and gas industry convention in the Kazakh capital of Astana. The Russian network devoted nearly the entire interview with King -- who recently received a lifetime achievement Emmy -- to this fluffy treatment of Russia's autocrat.

WATCH: Larry King is interviewed by Russia Today.

Asked whether he anticipated Putin's decision to return to the presidency, King responded that Putin "is too young" to retire from active politics. "There are certain lives that you can't leave," King said, "and a political life is one of them."

Of course, it's also a lot easier not to leave power when, through legal manipulation and extrajudicial violence, you take steps to prevent the formation of political opposition, suppress free media, and build up a kleptocratic patronage state.

King professed not to know about such things, saying that "I'm not into the politics in Russia." The nuts and bolts of politics, after all, might threaten to undo the flourishing bromance between King and Putin, which seems set only to grow: King made reference during the interview to planning a return visit to Russia in May.

But fair warning to King: you're entering a crowded field of contestants for Vladimir Putin's attention. Many have already been pulled in by the man's animal magnetism, including these girls. If you want at Vladimir, you're going to have to get through them.

-- Charles Dameron

Bonus points to RT for the smooth Kenny G soundtrack in the interview's background.

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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