SIBERIA, Russia – Speaking at the annual awards ceremony of the Russian Geographical Society in the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that during his vacation in Siberia he came face-to-face with several bears.
The Russian leader chairs the Russian Geographical Society’s Sponsorship Council (RGO), one of the oldest scientific societies in the world that organizes expeditions and plays an important role in the exploration of Siberia, Central Asia, the Far East and the Pacific.
During the ceremony, Putin thanked the researchers for their work and praised their dedication for taking care of nature. He also told a curious story that happened during his vacation in the wild lands of the Russian region of Tuva in Central Siberia.
“Now they were talking about flora, and about the fauna, and about the ageing forests, and about bears. This requires not only time and dedication in their work, but also it requires courage. I went to these places, and saw: bears here, bears there. When they started moving towards us, we thought we’d better get moving. But these guys live there, right next to them, for seven months,” Putin said.
The Russian president described the work of geographers as fascinating and how it requires dedication and a lot of courage. This work “allows us to understand who we are and where we are going”, considering it as one of the “elements of national identity.”
Vladimir Putin is no stranger to the care of wildlife. During his vacations and working trips inside the country, he visits the most remote places of Russia. In addition, the Russian leader is a sponsor of the Siberian tiger’s rescue program, jointly organized by the GRO and the Russian Academy of Sciences, with support from the Kremlin.
The Russian president uses his rare free weekends to go on nature trips. One of Putin’s most popular holiday destinations is Southern Siberia, particularly Tuva, Altai and Khakassia.