Support The Moscow Times!

Wing Man: Central Africa Presents Putin With Butterfly Portrait

kremlin.ru

The Central African Republic has presented Russian President Vladimir Putin with a portrait made of butterfly wings, a traditional gift signaling the increasingly close ties between the two countries.

The CAR's ambassador to Russia, Leon Dodonou-Pounagaza, told state news agency RIA Novosti in an interview published Tuesday that he had presented the Kremlin chief with "a large portrait of him made of butterfly wings."

Collages created from the wings of butterflies are a prized art form in the CAR, and provide a living for many hunters, who comb the forest for coveted specimens.

The ambassador, who like Putin studied law at the University of Leningrad during the Soviet era and said they had "crossed paths there," also offered the president a large wooden table marked with writing commemorating their days at the school.

The two gifts were transferred to Putin through the Foreign Ministry, said the envoy, who has been posted in Moscow since the end of 2020.

Asked about the gifts during a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he would check they had been received and get back to journalists with Putin's impressions.

The impoverished landlocked country is home to hundreds of species of tropical butterfly, some of which are rare or unique. 

No details were available about how many butterflies were used to make the portrait or which species.

The CAR has become a symbol of Russia's attempts to return to its Soviet-era influence in Africa.

Its president, Faustin Archange Touadera, has sought close military and economic ties with Moscow since 2018, with Russia sending "military instructors" to the country.

The CAR has become a key area in the controversy over the role in Africa of the Wagner mercenary group which is allegedly run by businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ally of Putin.

The paramilitaries have helped CAR government forces recapture from rebels much of the two-thirds of the country they once controlled.

The group has been accused of abuses in the CAR and Libya and has reportedly discussed a major contract with Mali.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more