Staunton, April 25 – Vladimir Putin’s passion for martial arts and other forms of sports is well-known. Less well-known is the fact that all but one of the ten other heads of the CIS member countries is also a more or less passionate sportsmen. Indeed, being one or being seen to be one now appears to be almost a requirement of such positions.
The Fergana news agency has provided a listing of the ten presidents and their favorite sports (fergananews.com/articles/9380).
· Azerbaijan’s Ilham Aliyev likes arm wrestling.
· Armenia’s Serzh Sargsyan likes chess.
· Belarus’ Alyaksandr Lukashenka likes hockey and skiing.
· Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev likes tennis, golf, horseback riding and skiing.
· Kyrgyzstan’s Almazbek Atambayev says he likes hiking but the news agency notes that “so far no one has seen him with a backpack on.”
· Moldova’s Igor Dodon likes chess.
· Tajikistan’s Emomali Rakhmn likes soccer.
· Turkmenistan’s Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov likes horseback riding, biking, motorcycling and fishing.
· Uzbekistan’s Shavkat Mirziyoyev has not shown any preferences at least in public but he is new to the job.
· Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko likes judo but says he doesn’t like soccer.