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Vladimir Putin plays with dogs as Finland blacklists Russian president

Finland apologizes after Russian President Vladimir Putin's name turns up on criminal blacklist.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is nothing if not fully aware of his image.

On the same day Finland admitted to putting Putin on a criminal blacklist (mistakenly, it says), the Kremlin released a series of photos showing the president’s “softer side.” Literally.

The two events aren’t connected (probably), but are just two more episodes in the long list of Putin’s sometimes hilarious, sometimes overbearing legacy.

The seven photos show Putin frolicking with two dogs, an Akito-Inu cross called Yume and a Bulgarian Shepherd named Buff. Yume was a gift from Japan while Buff hailed from the Bulgarians, naturally.

They roll in the snow. They traipse through knee-deep snow. They play fight. The dogs stare up at him adoringly.

Nobody who loves dogs this much could be bad. And dogs are good judges of character, right?

Well, there might be someone in Finland who disagrees with the canine opinion.

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The Finnish government apologized today for putting Putin on a blacklist that could have, in theory, had him arrested at the border, Associated Press reported.

According to the AP, Putin was placed on the list for his contact with a motorcycle club called the Night Wolves. Along with ice hockey, judo and bare-chested manly adventures, Putin lives to ride.

After Finnish station MTV3 exposed the secret list, government authorities quickly backtracked and said it was a clerical error.

“The National Police Board has investigated the case and indeed found that such a mistaken entry was in the register,” police representative Robin Lardot told the AP. “We have ordered it to be removed and are investigating the case very thoroughly. We don't know how it got there.”

Russia and Finland, two northern neighbors, have long experienced a “cool” relationship, which makes this latest gaffe especially sensitive.

They fought separate wars between 1939 and 1945, the Winter War and the Continuation War.

“I wish to extend Russia’s President Vladimir Putin sincere apologies for the incorrect registry entry,” Interior Minister Paivi Rasanen said, according to Reuters.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/russia/130410/vladimir-putin-dogs-finland-blacklist-russian-president