He's been snapped doing a vigorous butterfly stroke through a river, shooting tigers, riding bare-chested on horseback and diving down to a seabed and emerging wetsuit-clad carrying ancient vases. Now pictures of Vladimir Putin's latest macho exploits have been released, showing the Russian president catching a 21-kilogram pike in a Siberian lake.
Footage and photographs released by the Kremlin on Friday include a few Bond-style shots of Putin at the helm of a speedboat, and there is the odd tantalizing topless snap, but most show him kicking back in camouflage gear fishing and exploring a nature reserve with his colleagues.
The images were captured when the president was holidaying in a remote part of Russia's Tuva republic with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.
Peskov called the pike "enormous" and said it had taken the president over three minutes to reel it in. "The fish was turned into fishcakes, they were very good," he said, adding that Putin had spent the night in a yurt.
The president's spokesman said Putin had met with Medvedev at the confluence of the River Yenisei with the River Urbun. "They spent more than 24 hours there, chatting, fishing, swimming together," he said.
It was unclear when the trio of ministers had made the trip, which Russian media described as having taken place "not very long ago."
High-profile macho stunts have been a central part of Putin's public image for the past several years. Analysts have interpreted them as a deliberate move to present the president as a healthy, energetic, clean-living leader, in contrast to how his predecessor Boris Yeltsin was viewed.