Russian MMA fighter pens poem praising Putin

<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nhl/players/3637/" data-ylk="slk:Alex Ovechkin">Alex Ovechkin</a> appears to be just one of Vladimir Putin’s admirers in the world of sports. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
Alex Ovechkin appears to be just one of Vladimir Putin’s admirers in the world of sports. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Washington Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin recently made some waves with his outspoken support of Russian president Vladimir Putin, but it looks like he isn’t the controversial leader’s top fan in sports.

That title now belongs to MMA fighter Alexander Emelianenko. Emelianko, whose brother Fedor is in the same line of business, wrote a poem Saturday encapsulating his feelings about Putin.

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The piece – translated by Slava Malamud of Sport-Express – goes like this:

We are proud of our leader

We are proud of Putin forever

He is the strongest, the highest, the fastest

He is like our guiding star

I will follow our President forward

Through water and through flames

He got Russia off its knees

He pulled it up by its ears

With you, Vladimir Putin, I sleep at night without fear that tomorrow will come

And nobody will be protect us

Keep ruling our world

For Russia, you are air and water

Our flag, the hero of Russia

We will follow you to the end.

Given that this is a translation, unfortunately it would be unfair to evaluate Emelianko’s merit as a poet. It’s pretty fair to say it doesn’t work in English, but perhaps it flows like a gentle river in Russian.

What we can say is that the tone is a little overwrought combining aspirational bromance and over-the-top nationalism. His art would probably be better served by a pinch of subtlety. The best poems don’t beat you over the head with their themes.

Ultimately, the idea a prominent Russian athlete would support Putin isn’t particularly surprising. The way, Emelianko chose to express that support, though, most certainly is.

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