Hard line ... Russia's President Vladimir Putin feeds a horse outside the town of Kyzyl in Southern Siberia in 2009. The Russian strongman turned 60 on Sunday. Photo: AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said in a first-person documentary aired on his 60th birthday that the current generation of opposition leaders needs to be cast aside.
The documentary that aired on Sunday casts Putin as a tireless and no-nonsense leader contemptuous of domestic and international criticism. It also depicts a Spartan lifestyle of daily exercise, plain breakfasts and late-night work sessions.
Putin says in the program that he welcomes opposing views, but that they should come from people willing to take responsibility for running the country. Putin's dismissive remarks addressed at the opposition will reconsolidate anxiety over his perceived disregard for pluralism in Russia.
Celebrations took place on Sunday all over Russia to celebrate Putin's birthday, although the Kremlin has said the president opted for low-key celebrations with friends and family.