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A Real Ladies' Man: Putin's Remarks On Women Over The Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) has caused a stir by making some apparently disparaging comments about former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) has caused a stir by making some apparently disparaging comments about former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Vladimir Putin has raised more than a few eyebrows by suggesting that former U.S. Secretary of State -- and possible 2016 presidential hopeful -- Hillary Clinton was a weak woman.

The Kremlin leader made the remarks during a live interview with a French television station on June 4.

"It's better not to argue with women," Putin said in reference to remarks Clinton made in March comparing Russia's annexation of Crimea to Adolf Hitler's moves into Poland, Czechoslovakia, and other parts of Europe in the 1930s -- ostensibly to protect German minorities.

"When people push boundaries too far, it's not because they are strong but because they are weak," Putin said. "But maybe weakness is not the worst quality for a woman."

It's not the first time Putin has made controversial comments about women. Here's a selection of some of the other remarks he has made over the years:

Insulting His Wife

Years before his rise to the Kremlin, in mid-1990s, Putin reportedly made an unflattering comment about his then-wife Lyudmila.

"Anyone who can live at least two weeks with Lyudmila, deserves a monument," he said according to an account in Oleg Blotsky's 2002 book, "Vladimir Putin: The Road to Power."

A Caring Former Spouse?

In June 2013, the Putin's announced the couple's decision to pursue a "civilized divorce" which was finalized this year. In April, at his annual call-in program with Russian citizens, Putin said he hasn't completely ruled out a second marriage.

"First I need to get my ex-wife Lyudmila married, then I'll think about myself," he said.

Shocking Remarks On Rape

In a 2006 incident widely reported in Western and Russian media, Putin was overheard praising the virility of former Israeli President Moshe Katsav, then accused of multiple sex offences. Katsav has since been jailed on rape and sexual harassment charges.

"What a mighty man [Katsav] turns out to be! He raped 10 women," Russian media quoted Putin as saying. "We all envy him."

The comments were later blamed by the Kremlin on the "very complicated" Russian language, saying no translation would be "able to reflect the meaning of the joke."

Flattering, Or Patronizing?

Answering questions in 2008 about his rumored relationship with former gymnast Alina Kabaeva, Putin said he liked "all Russian women."

"I don't think I will offend anyone if I say that I -- personally -- consider that our Russian women are the most talented and the most beautiful," Putin said, although he vigorously rejected any alleged romantic links with Kabaeva.

'But Don't Make Me Say That Word On Television!'

In 2012, Putin called Pussy Riot, the punk performance-art group "talented girls" -- despite the fact that the feminist collective are all adults.

When asked during a television interview if he knew the meaning of the group's name. Putin said he knew -- but wouldn't say it on national television.

"See, if the girls made the whole world to say an unmentionable word, it means they are talented," Putin said.

-- Farangis Najibullah

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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