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Putin attends a technology expo and it's all kinds of charming and weird

22:52, 22 july 2016

The Forum for Strategic Initiatives wrapped up this week, but not before getting a visit from the Russian president. The event, which showcases projects supported by the Putin-created Agency for Strategic Initiatives, featured a whole warehouse full of tech in development. Putin stopped by to shake some hands and see what his agency has funded. 

The visit produced a mix of awkward interactions, where the president was visibly unimpressed with some of the devices put before him, and at least one particularly heartwarming encounter with a disabled little girl wearing a robotic prosthetic hand. 

Perhaps the strangest moment was when the creator of an animatronic robot designed to look like the 19th century Russian poet Alexander Pushkin had his machine tell Putin a joke. The “joke” involved the Pushkin robot repeating a series of "zeroes" and "ones,” supposedly sharing a bit of “binary humor,” recycling a gag familiar to Futurama fans. Despite the designer's efforts to explain it to Putin, the president's expression never budged.

Pushkin talks with Putin
Grigory Volgin

The governor of Tula, Alexey Dyumin, accompanied Putin to the expo, and even showed off some of his marksmanship, firing at targets in a virtual shooting range. Later on, the president was presented with a figurine designed to look like him, depicting Putin as a border guard standing alongside a shepherd dog, not unlike the one famously gifted to him by the leader of Bulgaria. The object was called “Defender of the Fatherland.” Putin handed it off quickly to his guards, and expressed thanks.

Putin as a border guard
World News

Putin also met a six-year-old girl wearing a robotic prosthetic hand made by the company Motorica, in connection with the Skolkovo Technology Center. She demonstrated how she's able to jump rope, using the device. “Thank you, sweetie,” Putin said after the demonstration, kissing the child on the head.

Putin meets with Motorica at the 2016 Forum for Strategic Initiatives
Motorica—a functioning hand prosthetic
Photo on front page: Kremlin press service