Tamil Diplomat

Popularity of ‘Putin the Shiite’ sky high in Iraq

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bullish entry into the Syrian conflict has worked wonders for his popularity in neighbouring Iraq, where some await “Hajji Putin” like a saviour.   Sitting at his easel in his central Baghdad workshop, painter Mohammed Karim Nihaya touches up a portrait of Putin he copied from the Internet.   “I have been waiting for Russia to get involved in the fight against Daesh,” he says, referring to the Islamic State group that last year declared a “caliphate” straddling Iraq and Syria.