His fans say he is Hercules.
His enemies say he is every biblical bad guy combined.
And, despite his possible casual threats of nuclear war and his annexation of a neighboring country's territory, the International Swimming Federation (Fédération Internationale de Natation, or FINA) said last week that he's a beacon of global brotherhood.
The man in question: Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The swimming organization announced Friday that it was bestowing the FINA Order, the organization's highest honor, upon Putin.
FINA President Dr. Julio C. Maglione offered a few words praising Putin:
Russia is undoubtedly one of the most important and major powers in world sport. These achievements are only possible thanks to the active support from the Russian authorities to Aquatics. The personal involvement of President Putin in this area greatly contributes to strengthen the fraternity between nations, improve the lifestyle and education of the youth in Russia and promote a healthier society, in a spirit of peace and friendship.
As FINA's announcement noted, the FINA World Championships are slated to kick off in Kazan, Russia, in July 2015.
The German newspaper Die Zeit reported that many German politicians were peeved that Putin had won the award despite Russia's territory grab in Ukraine.
A protester shouts slogans July 14, 2014 as she holds a poster, depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin swimming in front of a Mistral-class warship, during a demonstration in front of the French ambassador's residence in Kiev. Some 300 people protested against a 2011 contract with France to build at the STX France shipyard in Saint-Nazaire two Mistral-class helicopter carriers, a $1.6 billion deal, for the Russian navy, despite U.S. objections to the project. (Sergei Supinsky/AFP/Getty Images)
The paper also noted that more than a dozen Russian swimmers have tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in doping investigations since 2012.
(H/T: Euromaidan Press)
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