Vladimir Putin cut out the heart of a deer and gave it to Silvio Berlusconi

The Russian president and former Italian prime minster were on a holiday together in 2013.

Vladimir Putin cut out the heart of a deer and gave it to Silvio Berlusconi

Vladimir Putin cut out the heart of a deer and presented it to Silvio Berlusconi, one of the late former Italian prime minister’s close allies said in an interview published in the newspaper Corriere della Sera Sunday.

The incident took place in 2013 when the Russian president took Berlusconi on a hunting trip while the two were holidaying together in one of his dachas, said Fabrizio Cicchitto, a former senator from Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party.

“Vladimir showed me a violent nature that I didn’t imagine in such a kind and rational man,” Cicchitto recalled Berlusconi saying after returning from Russia.

Both men professed to be close, with Berlusconi defending Putin even after his full-scale invasion of Ukraine and the Russian president describing the media-tycoon-turned-politician as a “true friend” after he passed away in June last year.

According to Cicchitto, Berlusconi accepted Putin’s offer to go hunting even though he had never touched a rifle in his life. Once in the woods, the Russian president handed the Berlusconi a rifle and they walked together in the snow.

When Putin spotted two deer, he urged Berlusconi to take aim. “That’s yours. Shoot,” Putin told Berlusconi, Cicchitto said. When the Italian refused, Putin shot both deer and gave him a satisfied look.

Putin then went down the slope, holding a knife. He quartered a beast and pulled out his heart. He then had a man from his entourage give Berlusconi a wooden tray on which he placed the bleeding piece of meat, saying it would make an exceptional meal.

Berlusconi then hid behind a tree to throw up.

The former prime minister nonetheless defended his friend. “Maybe it’s just a hunter’s custom,” Cicchitto recalled him saying.