The story of the 14th Dalai Lama’s present to Leonid Brezhnev

Every head of state has an army of guards, tested and trained. But in the history of the CPSU, there was a very unexpected bodyguard.

As you know, during the Cold War, India was a close partner of the USSR. A Soviet delegation arrived in a friendly country in early 1969. A luxurious reception awaited them. The ambassador to Delhi, Mikhail Pegov, presented local politicians and artists to Brezhnev. The diplomat introduced the Secretary General to the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama looked into the eyes of Brezhnev and did not unclench his handshake for several minutes. “You suffered a heart attack 13 years ago,” he said. “And you are also in danger in the near future.” Brezhnev was startled. Indeed, he had a heart attack in the past, but he tried to laugh it off. Then the Dalai Lama asked permission to present a special amulet to the leader of the USSR. “You should feed it raw meat and never part with it. Think of it as a talisman."

At his direction, the assistant boy dragged a huge cage with something black inside. At first, this creature was mistaken for a panther, but then everyone saw that it was an incredibly large cat. Brezhnev held out his hand. The cat sniffed it, then touched the cage door. Having got out of the cage, the cat confidently lay down at the feet of Brezhnev, and hissed furiously at some careless gesture of the interpreter. The Dalai Lama nodded approvingly, "Now I see that the cat has chosen a master and has already begun his duties as a bodyguard." So, the head of the Soviet state got a new guard – the fluffy, incorruptible and voluntary one.