MOSCOW (AFP) — Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has astonished the leader of the Russian Communist Party by presenting him with an unexpected birthday gift -- an early Soviet edition of the Communist Manifesto.
Speaking to Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov and other party leaders, Putin described the ideas of the 1848 manifesto's authors Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels as "interesting" and "important", the press reported Monday.
"Marx and Engels examined these problems and spoke about cyclical crises, They started to examine the problems that we today call globalisation," Putin told the meeting at his country residence on Sunday.
He added that no-one had yet found an "antidote" to these problems, amid a global economic crisis that has hit Russia hard.
"At the same time, I believe these investigations to be interesting and valuable and I would like to present Gennady Andreyevich with the first Soviet edition of the Manifesto to mark your 65th birthday. Happy Birthday!"
The Kommersant daily said Zyuganov's face glowed with pleasure after Putin's words. "An unexpected gift," it quoted the veteran Communist politician as saying.
Putin told the Communist Party leader he would be able to freshen up his memory with the book and then share his conclusions with others.
The Communist Party ruled the Soviet Union with an iron fist in a one party state from 1917 to 1991 but now in post-Soviet Russia it offers almost the only credible opposition to Putin's dominant United Russia Party.
Putin has in the past described the Soviet Union as a "colossus" whose collapse was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.
But he has also admitted its continuation was not compatible with the demands of the modern world.
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