Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin Jokes About Rape
Saturday, October 21, 2006 12:52 AM

Russia, 20 October 2006.  The Russian President Vladimir Putin was overheard by a journalist at a press conference joking about allegations of rape against the Israeli president, Moshe Katsav.  Putin was holding a joint press conference with the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, focused on the Iran crisis.  At the end of the conference, when he is thought to believe the microphone was off, he said “greetings to your president.”  Following this, the microphone was turned off and journalist Andrei Kolesnikov claims he heard the president say, “What a mighty man he turns out to be!  He raped 10 women – I would never have expected this from him.  He surprised us all – we all envy him!”  Following this statement was laughter from the official delegations.

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, admits that the words were spoken but claims they were a joke.  He went on to explain on the BBC’s World Today radio program that the translation did not reflect the true meaning because of how complicated Russian is, and that the humor is lost in the translation.  He claims that the President does not welcome rape.

Israeli President Katsav allegedly raped members of his staff, and the Israeli police say that they have enough evidence to charge him with “rape, forced sexual acts, sexual acts without consent and sexual harassment,” along with a possible charge of wire-tapping.

Compiled from BBC News.  20 October 2006.  Putin’s ‘rape joke’ played down.  Available; RFE/RL Newsline, 20 October 2006.  Kremlin moves to check damage over Putin rape remarks.  Available