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MOSCOW — Vladimir Putin is everywhere in his country's public life. Now it turns out the president is even gracing ordinary Russians' dreams.
A web search engine said the strongman was the only real individual "to appear often in people's dreams," according to analysis of users' online queries.
Yandex, which is more popular than Google in Russia, said it typically received half a million requests a week about the meaning of nighttime visions.
It released a survey, based on six months’ worth of such queries, revealed the five most common subjects of Russian dreams were “fish,” “child,” “snake” and “dying" — the last followed immediately by “living."
Ex-partners, teeth, houses, water and pregnancies also made it to the top 20.
Putin was the only individual named in Yandex dream searches. Dreams about him were most common among users in Chechnya, the region that has survived two wars in as many decades eventually ended with Putin government’s heavy-handed approach.
"When people type in their queries into a search engine they are simply trying to assign their own meaning to what they dreamed about"
Dreams also varied greatly between regions in Russia, the most expansive country in the world. While Russians in the sparsely-populated far east had dreams involving bears, tigers and tics, those in Moscow said they see the city's subway system while snoozing. (The city of 12 million has 206 metro stations.)
In the conservative regions in southern Russia and the Ural mountains, users dreamed more of priests, icons and crawfish than other areas. Residents of Chelyabinsk, hit by a giant meteor in 2013, often see falling celestial bodies in their sleep, Yandex said.
Those living in Siberia’s unofficial capital of Novosibirsk dream of dragons, it said.
Oksana Orlova, psychologist at Parabola psychology center in Moscow, cautioned against over-interpreting the study's findings.
"When people type in their queries into a search engine they are simply trying to assign their own meaning to what they dreamed about, using online explanations as a tool," she said. "But this is definitely not science, this is mundane interpreting."
Assigning dreams "mystical meanings" is often connected with anxiety, Orlova added.
"They are most often found in children and primitive cultures, who compensate this way for their feeling of helplessness before the world," she said.