Russia's sat nav goes for walkies

Russia’s home-grown satellite navigation system may not yet be fully operational, but it seems to work fine on prime minister Vladimir Putin’s dog.

State TV showed Mr Putin and his deputy Sergei Ivanov try a collar containing the location-finding equipment on the prime minister’s black labrador Koni.

Mr Ivanov said that the equipment goes on a standby mode when “the dog doesn’t move, if it, say, lies down in a puddle”.

Mr Putin interrupted him jokingly: “My dog isn’t a piglet, it doesn’t lie in puddles.”

“She wags her tail, she likes it,” he said after watching Koni outside his colonnaded residence on Moscow’s western outskirts.

The navigation system, which goes by acronym GLONASS, was developed during the Soviet era as a response to the US Global Positioning System, but it has been slow to take shape amid the post-Soviet economic meltdown.

The government had promised to make the system fully operational by the beginning of this year, but it was delayed by equipment flaws and other technical problems.

Mr Ivanov told Mr Putin that the system would have 21 satellites by the year’s end – enough to provide navigation services over the entire Russian territory.

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