Birds, bears, bikers - new Putin prank

2012-09-06 19:17
Russian President Vladimir Putin, flies in a motorized hang glider alongside a Siberian white crane, on the Yamal Peninsula, in Russia. (RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service, AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, flies in a motorized hang glider alongside a Siberian white crane, on the Yamal Peninsula, in Russia. (RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Moscow - Start with manly ventures - flying, hunting, scuba-diving. Add an element of danger - polar bears, tigers, fighter jets. Throw in a bare chest here and there.

In Russian politics, Vladimir Putin is both the star of the show and the stuntman.

The Russian president's flight on Wednesday in a motorized hang glider purportedly helped young white Siberian cranes learn how to migrate. But it also was the latest in a dozen-year series of telegenic escapades.

The media events portray him as both exceptionally bold and just a regular guy who enjoys proletarian pastimes like hunting and fishing. Although critics say Putin is tremendously wealthy, his stunts are careful to avoid any suggestion of riches. Putin - unlike John Kerry - will never be filmed going windsurfing.

Putin is even willing to show a vulnerable side. He confessed that the hang glider's veering and yawing "gets the adrenaline going" and once was filmed being thrown to the mat by a 10-year-old Japanese girl who was a judo expert.

Some of Putin's notable stunts:

Top Gun

Putin and George W Bush may have had little in common, but they both understood that showing up in a fighter jet makes a dramatic entrance.

Putin did it first, in March 2000, flying into war-torn Chechnya in the rear seat of a Sukhoi-27 advanced fighter jet.

Coming just a few days before Russia's presidential election, the stunt aimed to bolster Putin's image as the man who could wipe out the Chechen separatists, in contrast to predecessor Boris Yeltsin, who had allowed Chechnya to become virtually independent and gruesomely lawless.

Seabed Find

The low point of Putin's stunts may have been his 2011 scuba dive in the strait connecting the Black and Azov seas. He came up from the dive holding fragments of what were said to be 6th century BC Greek jugs, saying "the boys and I found them".

Critics snorted. The seabed was only about 2m deep and the likelihood that the fragments had hidden in plain sight for more than 2 500 years seemed slim. Some joked that Putin's staff had bought the pottery at IKEA.

A few months later, Putin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov admitted the jug fragments had been planted.

The swimmer

Whatever sleight of hand or outright fakery may be involved in a Putin media moment, he obviously does a lot of the work himself.

That was never more clear than in a 2009 photo of Putin swimming in a Siberian river. He chose to do the butterfly, swimming's most visually dramatic stroke. Photographers caught his head and torso surging out of the water, his well-muscled arms extended and a look on his face that seemed to express both the joys of exertion and the coldness of the water.

Beards and bikes

Putin has described himself as being something of a hooligan as a youth and even at the pinnacle of power likes to show a raffish side. He's made several visits to motorcycle rallies, consorting with brawny and bearded leather-clad bikers.

It doesn't seem to undermine his street cred when he rides with the posse on a three-wheeler instead of true hog.

Old softie

Putin appears to have a genuine affection for animals, even being shown cuddling a puppy and getting a kiss from a poodle.

He managed to combine sweetness and toughness in a 2010 trip to the Arctic where he accompanied scientists tracking polar bears. Kneeling next to a tranquilised bear, he stroked the animal, helped measure it and roll it onto its side.

On his departure, he shook the bear's paw and uttered: "Be well."

Fly with me

Like some of his other stunts, Wednesday's flights on a flimsy hang glider in Siberia aimed to portray Putin as being concerned about ecological issues.

Critics were unconvinced.

"He's been ruling this country for 12 years, but a list of his fantasies never ends," wrote Anton Orekh, a commentator for Ekho Moskvy radio. "This makes me think that he's made all of his dreams come true and is now merely struggling with boredom."

But Putin did sidestep a possible photo debacle. Initial reports said he would likely don a fake beak so the storks being trained would think he was one of them.

Huh? No chance.

- AP

Read more on:    vladimir putin  |  russia
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Parow - 07:56 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    DELAYS between Plattekloof Road and the N7 Highway
  • Tuesday Newlands - 07:49 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    DELAYS between Wynberg Hill and Hospital Bend
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Bold 9790

Bold Design The BlackBerry Bold 9790 smartphone combines the iconic BlackBerry...

From R2979.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something may come up to alert you of your security needs. It may be that you need to create a better structure for your finances...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.