What's the most appropriate name for Vladimir Putin's cuddly new friend? Puprestroika? Laika? Fluffy?
The Russian strongman is asking for the public's help in naming a Bulgarian shepherd puppy he received earlier this week as a gift from Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, the Sofia news agency Novinite reports.
The news agency says the pup was originally named Yorgo, but the Russian prime minister is considering options.
There has been no shortage of suggestions from Internet users, such as "Ra-Ra-Ras" from Gawker.com: The dog's surname will be Putin, get it? Then there is "Dogka," "Gazprom" and "Medvedev," while one commenter on the RT News site offered up "Georgia."
The puppy was presented as a gift to seal a gas pipeline deal, according to the BBC, which says Mr. Putin already has a Labrador named Connie and was given a Siberian tiger cub as a birthday present in 2008.
Photos of Mr. Putin cradling and nuzzling his new pup are a glaring (dare we say, softening?) departure from the Russian prime minister's tough-guy photo ops. He's been photographed competing at Judo, riding shirtless on a horse and shooting tranquilizers at a tiger.
The puppy, however, may grow into Mr. Putin's macho image. Novinite describes Bulgarian shepherd dogs as an extremely rare breed of large mountain livestock guardian dog.
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