Russia's First Lady Lyudmilla Putin said Friday that her fellow-citizens had rediscovered their national pride since her husband came to power, for the first time since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
"We used to say: We're proud to be Soviet. This year in Russia and everywhere else in the world, people are thinking again: It's great to be Russian," she said in an interview published with Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.
She also said her own life had taken on a "new meaning" since Vladimir Putin's election as president on March 26 this year.
Asked about her involvement in charity work, Putin's wife replied: "I will try to help people, not in my name but for the sake of God."
According to the Russian press, Lyudmilla Putin may become the patron of the country's first union of charities since 1910.
The first lady, a graduate of foreign languages, also said she would work to defend the Russian language "because it shapes thought, which itself determines our way of life."
She urged her compatriots to use more "words of love and tenderness."
Lyudmilla Putin, who at first stayed behind the scenes after her husband came to power, has been venturing more into the limelight in her role as first lady -- MOSCOW (AFP)
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