Putin Peak


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Kyrgyzstan's parliament voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to immortalize Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin by naming a mountain in his honor, in a move to reinforce ties with former imperial master Moscow.

The Central Asian nation's legislature held three rapid-fire votes within just one minute to name a 14,587-feet peak in the Tien Shan mountains after Putin, a brawny black belt in judo also known for his fondness for skiing.

The government's motion to name the mountain after the former KGB spy, officially said to have originated from local farmers in the Chuy region, aims "to immortalize the name of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin".

It would also "cement friendly ties between Kyrgyzstan and Russia", the parliament said in an explanatory note.

Kyrgyzstan's new prime minister, Almazbek Atambayev, made his first symbolic visit to Moscow within days of taking the helm of the country's rickety economy in December and secured a pledge of economic assistance from Putin.

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Higher than Yeltsin Peak

The ex-Soviet state of 5.4 million people, which borders China and hosts U.S. and Russian military air bases, is badly in need of cash after a bloody revolt deposed its president last April and ethnic violence in June killed at least 400 people.

Putin Peak is substantially higher than the 11,480-feet Yeltsin Peak in the nearby Issyk Kul region, which was named after the former Russian leader in 2002, five years before his death.

Underlining earlier displays of official deference to Moscow, the two mountains are dwarfed by the 23,406-feet Lenin Peak on the Kyrgyz-Tajik border.

This was renamed after the Bolshevik leader in 1928, replacing the Tsarist-era name of Kaufmann Peak, which honored a 19th-century general whose troops helped win Central Asia for Russia in "The Great Game" against the British Empire.

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