Alexandr Ovechkin, Washington Capitals captain and the forward of the Russian national ice hockey team, announced he was going to launch a social movement in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to “show everyone a strong and united Russia.”
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The United States adheres to the principles of free speech and free thought, a US Department of State spokesperson told Sputnik on Friday regarding the plans of the Washington Capitals hockey team captain Alexander Ovechkin to create a public movement abroad in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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On Tuesday, Ovechkin wrote on Instagram he was creating a public movement abroad called “Putin Team” whose goal was to unite all supporters of the Russian president abroad. By the time this article was published, his Instagram post had got more than 84.000 likes.
Ovechkin, who is a Russian citizen, explained that he drew the idea of the movement from the phrase “Putin’s team”, which is readily used by the Western media. He added that he had always openly supported Putin and expressed confidence that many people would join the initiative.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday that Moscow welcomed the player’s initiative.
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Ovechkin was the first pick in the first round of the 2004 National Hockey league (NHL) draft and has since played for the Washington Capitals. A sole exception is Ovechkin’s short stint in his first club – Dynamo Moscow during the 2012-13 NHL lockout.
He holds a number of NHL’s and club’s records and is a three-time World Hockey Champion.