World Cup octopus predicts next Russian president

Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:09am EDT
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MOSCOW (Reuters Life!) - One of Russia's most popular newspapers said on Friday it had managed to get Paul, the oracle German octopus which accurately predicted the World Cup results to forecast who will be Russia's next president.

But shhhhhh...Komsomolskaya Pravda said the results of Paul's prediction for the 2012 presidential election have been sealed until election year.

The paper said one of its reporters approached Paul, who lives at the Sea Life attraction in the German city of Oberhausen and put two sheets of paper with the names of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev in front of the soothsaying invertebrate, which pointed to one of the names with a tentacle.

Since Medvedev replaced Putin as president in 2008, with the latter taking over the cabinet, it has been unclear who is the number one decision-maker in a country with a tradition of strong, individual rulers.

A recent poll conducted by Russia's Levada-Center shows that 76 percent of respondents believe Putin is the country's most influential person, while 67 percent see Medvedev as top leader.

Both politicians at some point said they were considering running for president in 2012. In April Medvedev said they would decide together who is going to run. Putin said in June they would talk about it closer to the election date.

Paul the octopus became famous for accurately predicting the outcome of Germany's World Cup campaign and the World Cup final between Spain and The Netherlands.

His Russian presidential pick has been conducted in a fashion rather different to his World Cup prognostications, where he predicted football matches by picking food from two different transparent containers lowered into his tank, each adorned with the flag of one of the matches' competitors.

The paper also features a short "interview" with Paul.

(Writing by Alexei Anishchuk; Editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>Germany's so-called oracle octopus Paul, swims in front of a mock soccer World Cup trophy in his tank at the Sea Life Aquarium in the western German city of Oberhausen July 12, 2010. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay</p>