In a bizarre attempt to claim glory for the people of Russia, Premier Vladimir Putin today claimed that Dorset-born Culinary Bio-ethicist Professor Brian Thrupiece - the subject of a recent academic paper outlining his seminal contribution to the Space Race - was a Russian citizen, born in Vladivostok and planted in the West as an agent of the KGB. Though little credence can be placed in the increasingly fervid rantings of the beleaguered Russian President, sources in Great Heaving were quick to pour scorn on the statement.
"Whilst we acknowledge that the Professor has an honoured place in Soviet history and received awards and commendations from many Russian academic institutions we reject utterly the idea that he was either born in Russia or became a naturalised Russian citizen", the statement read. "Furthermore, evidence that he had a temporary residence in Moscow at periods in the late 1950s and throughout the 60s and may even have relatives there goes nowhere towards establishing either his nationality or his allegiances. Professor Thrupiece was an Internationalist and a citizen of the world and it is to the world he belongs. He may have been born in the Navy (RAF surely [ed]) but he was made in Dorset."
President Putin's statement - issued via the All Russia News Agency included a photograph purporting to show a "suspiciously portly" Professor Thrupiece in conversation with a young Vladimir Putin and an unknown woman (possibly the mother of Natalia Legova a known associate of both men). Asked whether this altered the Threadbone Corporation's stance on the matter, a Miss Direction (Head of Publicity at the Great Heaving Complex) said "Not really, but we will think about it and get back to you."
Mr Putin's claim follows publication of "Professor Thrupiece and the Space Race" a new Thrupiece Paper in the RSCBE's IJCBE Occasional Series. It is available from the RSCBE's website (here) and has clearly set the Dorset cat amongst the Moscow pigeons!
The All Russia News Agency has published a photograph purporting to show a "suspiciously portly" Professor Thrupiece with a young Vladimir Putin , though The Threadbone Corporation was quick to allege it was "mere propaganda" designed to rewrite Soviet space achievement and draw attention away from President Putin's current problems. [From Left to Right: Professor Thrupiece, unknown woman, Vladimir Putin.]