Long before he became Russia’s president in 2000, Vladimir Putin reportedly earned pocket money as a stuntman at a Leningrad film studio in his early twenties.
According to a new report by the Dozhd TV channel, Putin and his long-term judo partner Arkady Rotenberg — now one of Russia’s richest businessmen — were stuntmen in several patriotic war films during the 1970s.
The opportunity arose when judo coach Alexander Massarsky decided to invite young athletes to the Lenfilm studio to serve as stuntmen.
Another of Putin’s longtime friends, the former Duma deputy Vasily Shestakov, with whom the president co-wrote a book about judo, was also one of the stuntmen.
Shestakov noted that they played the roles of both Soviet and German actors. “It was all the same to us who to play,” Shestakov told Dozhd, “they paid us good money at the time.”
When asked if Putin had ever played a German soldier in a war film, Massarsky is reported to have said:
“Putin has never played the role of a fascist.”