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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
There is a veritable treasure trove of D-Day-related material to be found in the British Pathé archive. (YouTube screengrab)
As the world marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, RFE/RL has delved into the extensive British Pathé archive of newsreels to see how the Allied invasion of Western Europe, which began on June 6, 1944, was reported at that time.

1) Greatest Ever Combined Operation

"The mind recoils from the dimensions of it all...," says the commentator in this 10-minute clip recounting that huge amount of planning and logistics that went into organizing the biggest seaborne invasion in world history.

2) The Fall Of Caen

The town of Caen had been identified as a point of strategic importance for the invaders and they set about taking it immediately upon landing in Normandy. German resistance was fierce, however, and it took the Allies some two months to take it. This video summarizes the battle and also clearly shows the devastation it caused. (As an added bonus, the very end of this video [3:15] offers an insight into some of the lengths that British Pathé cameramen would go to in order to get the right shot.)

3) Normandy Conquest

The rather triumphalist voiceover describing the vanquishing of "German parasites" is very much of its time, but this clip still offers a good overview of some of the mop-up operations that occurred after Allied forces had established a foothold in Normandy. Moments of particular interest include the "atmosphere of intense fervor" that accompanied General Charles De Gaulle's return to France after four years in exile (6:55) as well as George VI's subsequent arrival in France (8:30) to cries of "Long live the King of England" from French locals.

4) Behind The Lines In Normandy

This footage records a number of incidents that occurred in Normandy once Allied forces began exerting control over the region, including the unseemly sight of French women who had "associated with German soldiers" being subjected to public ridicule as their heads are forcibly shaved (0:35). The film also offers a fascinating account of the surrender of two battalions of Russian prisoners who had been "press-ganged" into fighting for the Germans (1:20).

5) Triumph In France (the fall of St. Malo)

After Allied forces began getting a firm grip on Normandy, a number of divisions were dispatched to clear the Brittany peninsula. Despite the claims of "fanatical German resistance" in this contemporaneous news clip, some historians maintain that the state of German defenses under Colonel Andreas von Aulock did not justify the massive firepower that was unleashed to take the citadel of St. Malo.

In any event, the Allied victory is put to good propaganda use in this film, particularly when the camera lingers to record the arrest of a German soldier, who appears to be very drunk (1:05). "We will fight to the last drop of blood [Von Aulock] had declared," says the gleeful commentator. "But judging by the state of his orderly, they had fought to the last drop of something else!"

6) 'Invasion' -- German Newsreel

Sadly, there is no voiceover to add proper context to this soundless British Pathé newsreel that was never issued, but it still gives one a good idea of how the D-Day invasion looked from the German perspective. There's also some decent footage of the formidable Axis coastline defenses around the four-minute mark.

You can also find a decent short historical account of D-Day using old British Pathé footage here.

-- Coilin O'Connor

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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 transmission+rferl.org

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