The hard-nose, hard-line leader talked up Chicago's gangster past when reporters in Moscow quizzed him about plans to visit Chicago for the NATO Summit in May.
"They say (Chicago is) good. Al Capone lived there," President Putin said. Reporters theorized it may be a not so subtle jab at Chicago's most famous resident Barack Obama, who failed to call and congratulate Putin on his recent presidential election win.
The Associated Press observed the Capone connection was "perhaps not the best point to make for a leader once depicted in a memorable cover of The Economist weekly as a 1920s gangster with a gas pump in his hand instead of a Tommy Gun.
Erasing the stereotypes of Chicago as a haven for the mob, hog butcher to the world, and largely industrial city have been among the frequently stated motives of city leaders as they pursued international events such as the 2016 Summer Olympic as well as the G8 and NATO Summits.
Earlier this week, the White House announced the G8 Summit is being moved to Camp David May 18-19. Many of the same world leaders will then travel to Chicago for NATO meetings May 20-21.
Late Thursday morning, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he expects President Putin will attend the gathering in Chicago if an agreement on missile defense can be reached.
"But? Chicago will not be the end of the story, because we will continue talks, negotiations with Russia beyond our meeting in Chicago," Fogh Rasmussen said.