The president of Belarus gave him a tractor. Tajikistan’s leader presented him with a pile of watermelons. And Ukrainians bestowed a birthday wish on Vladimir V. Putin of Russia: that it would be his last.
Mr. Putin, whose private life is shrouded in secrecy, spent his 70th birthday with little public celebration, meeting with leaders from Armenia, Belarus, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan — in St. Petersburg, where Mr. Putin was born, for an “informal summit” of post-Soviet countries. He received calls from a noticeably short list of world leaders — including from Cuba, Turkey, South Africa, Kyrgyyzstan and Kazakhstan.
In Ukraine, his birthday was broadly met with condemnation of him. The Nobel Peace Prize committee, in a pointed message to Mr. Putin, gave its award to human rights activists from Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.
Countless memes denounced the Russian president. Some Ukrainian activists urged supporters to make a donation to provide weapons to the Ukrainian military. And politicians and local leaders lashed out at the Russian leader on social media.
Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, in a video directed at Russian officers and commanders on Mr. Putin’s birthday, said that there would be no negotiations with the Russian leaders and urged the military leaders to stop their offensive.
“You have been deceived and betrayed,” Mr. Reznikov said. “You were promised an easy ride. And sent to the trap. You pay in blood for someone’s fantasies and false goals.”
Ukrainian hackers marked the day by breaking into the websites of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a body akin to NATO for post-Soviet states, and posting the message: “We want to congratulate Putin on his last birthday and wish him a ‘comfortable’ trip to The Hague.” The website was later taken down.
Other activists and human rights defenders were quick to point out that Mr. Putin’s birthday is also the day of the death of one his most prominent critics, Anna Politkovskaya, a writer and journalist for Novaya Gazeta. She was murdered in Moscow on Oct. 7, 2006.
“It’s not Putin’s birthday,” wrote Oksana Pokalchuk, a human rights lawyer and the former director of Amnesty International Ukraine. “It’s another anniversary of killing of Anna Politkovskaya who exposed his war crimes during the Chechnya campaign. Her death was one of the first omens of the 2022 invasion of Ukraine.”
At home, however, many embraced the leader.
Newspapers trumpeted Mr. Putin’s 22-year tenure as the leader of the country, with Komsomolskaya Pravda drawing parallels to Peter the Great, Joseph Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev.
In Grozny, in Russia’s south, 20,000 Chechen fighters gathered for military demonstrations to honor him, a move that came two days after Mr. Putin promoted Ramzan Kadyrov, the region’s strongman leader, to the rank of colonel general.
Online, videos circulated of young people praising Mr. Putin. One showed kindergartners in central Russia performing a dance for the president, and another, taken from above, showed students in St. Petersburg arranging their bodies into the words “Putin Is My President” while waving Russian flags.
In a letter to Mr. Putin, Patriarch Kirill I, the leader of the Russian Orthodox church, wrote: “God placed you at the helm of power, so that you could perform a service of special importance and great responsibility” for the country and its people, praising the growing closeness of the relationship between the church and state.
Even as Ukrainians wished for his death, Mr. Putin — whose staged publicity photos bare-chested on horseback or in a river have presented him as a paragon of vitality —- appears to be in good physical health.
Western intelligence officials, as well as the Kremlin, dismissed speculation that he was ill in July. “There are lots of rumors about President Putin’s health and as far as we can tell he’s entirely too healthy,” William J. Burns, director of the C.I.A., noted at the time.
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