The Russian President Vladimir Putinhas a lot to show for his trip to Pyongyang, including a new mutual defense pact, a collection of photos with the North Korean leader and a pair of dogs personally given to him by Kim Jong Un.

Just as Chinese officials have been giving up and always to other countries, in the context of diplomatic relations, dog diplomacy seems to have succeeded in relations between Russia and North Korea.

“It seems that this is all designed to protect this image of two ‘good guys’ who love animals and are happy to see each other and build the relationship between their two countries and everything is going very well.”said Jan Kubik, chair of the Department of Political Science at Rutgers and author of “The Power of Symbols Against the Symbols of Power.”

And he continued: “However, the reality is different. Both are dictators. There is no more oppressive regime on earth than that of North Korea, and the ‘innocent’ Putin is engaged in an absolutely unthinkable, destructive war against another country (Ukraine).”he added.

Vladimir Putin is used to foreign leaders giving him gifts of various animals – from cats to horses – and especially dogs.

Foreign officials from Japan gave Putin an Akita dog named “Yume,” or “dream” in Japanese, in 2012 as a “thank you” for helping them after the 2011 earthquake.

The president of Bulgaria had previously given the president of Russia a “Karakachan” dog, named “Buffy”. In 2017, the then president of Turkmenistan gave Putin a puppy as a belated birthday present, just days after his 65th birthday. And in 2019, the president of Serbia gave Putin a puppy named “Pasha”, while the leader of Kyrgyzstan gave Putin a puppy and a horse.

The “dog” gifts of Kim Jong Un come after North Korea helped – with compensation – the Russian president in the war in Ukraine, with 40 missiles. And now, with their new defense agreement, the two countries have agreed that if either is at war, the other will provide “military and other assistance by all means at its disposal without delay” – an agreement that has set fire to the West about the dangerous alliance.

Russian state media, meanwhile, have highlighted the fact that the ‘Pungsan’ dog breed – the breed of dog given to Putin by Kim – can be quite aggressive. The dog breed, which is quite rare, is “loyal to its owner and vicious when attacked,” according to a TASS article.

Putin has long relied on animals and nature as a means of demonstrating his power. Moscow regularly posts pictures of him riding horses or hunting and fishing shirtless to send the message that he is a tough and “bunch” leader. The Russian president has also relied on his dogs as a PR strategy, using them both for political intimidation schemes and to bolster his image as a benevolent leader.


The Russian president has said that when he’s in a bad mood, he leans on his dog, ‘Konni’, a black labrador gifted to him by Russia’s former defense minister. In fact, in 2007, Putin went so far as to bring “Konni” to a bilateral meeting he had with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at his residence in Sochi.

At the time there was speculation that it was possible Putin was trying to intimidate Merkel, who is known to be afraid of dogs – she was bitten by a dog in 1995. Putin again claimed he knew nothing about her fear of dogs and he stated that he wanted to do something good for her.