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In the midst of a war crisis, Putin prays for his health as he turns 70.

In the midst of a war crisis, Putin prays for his health as he turns 70.

On Friday, President Vladimir Putin celebrated his 70th birthday with the adoring greetings of his subordinates and a request from Orthodox Patriarch Kirill for everyone to pray for the well-being of the most powerful man in Russia since Josef Stalin.

The invasion of Ukraine precipitated the most serious conflict with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, posing Putin with the greatest challenge of his presidency. His army there is in disarray as a result of recent setbacks.

The patriarch of Moscow and All of Russia urged the nation to offer two days of special prayers for God to grant Putin “health and longevity” as officials lauded Putin as the savior of contemporary Russia.

The most significant military crisis any Kremlin leader has faced in at least a generation, since the Soviet-Afghan war of 1979–89, is being faced by Putin, who promised to put an end to the turmoil that engulfed Russia after the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Putin’s detractors, including imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny, claim that he has led Russia down a path to destruction and created a fragile system of inept sycophants that will eventually crumble and leave behind the chaos.

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Putin, according to his supporters, saved Russia from being obliterated by an aggressive and haughty West.

Since President Boris Yeltsin unexpectedly announced Putin as his intended successor on New Year’s Eve 1999, Putin has ruled Russia for over 23 years.

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