Back to Nature, Putin Shown Petting Deer

    The Wall Street Journal
    By The Wall Street Journal

    MOSCOW—With Russia’s supply of savage beasts running low, President Vladimir Putin is now turning to more pedestrian outdoor pursuits.

    The Kremlin on Friday released pictures and video of Russia’s fitness-focused leader fishing on a lake in national park while on vacation last weekend in Siberia. Dressed in camouflage and sporting a slouch hat, Mr. Putin–who in the past has notably been photographed chasing far more fearsome tigers and whales–manned the helm aboard a small fishing boat before taking a turn casting a line.

    In one photo Mr. Putin’s shown proudly holding up a 21-kilogram (46-pound) pike he hauled up out of the lake in the Republic of Tuva along Russia’s border with Mongolia. In others, he’s shown petting reindeer. He’s joined in others by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev–an avid photographer–who stands with a camera in his hands.

    Mr.  Medvedev later posted images from the trip to his Facebook page, including several of him pensively contemplating the scenery before taking a photograph.

    The 60-year-old Mr. Putin’s press spokesman told the Interfax news agency that the men–joined by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu–later dined on fish patties.

    Russia’s president is well known for burnishing his rugged man image with regular jaunts around the country for back-to-nature photo ops.

    Two weeks ago he boarded a mini-submarine to examine the wreck of a 19th century frigate in the Gulf of Finland. Last year, he climbed aboard a glider dressed in a white jump suit to help teach captive-born cranes the way to their natural nesting grounds. He has also been photographed riding a horse shirtless on the Siberian steppe, helping tranquilize a rare Amur tiger and collecting skin samples from gray whales in the Sea of Okhotsk.

    One episode in which Mr. Putin was shown scuba diving and pulling up ancient amphora from beneath the water later turned to farce when his press secretary admitted the relics had been planted there for the event.

    At one point during his most recent adventure, Mr. Putin met a park ranger who showed him images of a snow leopard that had been captured on motion-sensitive remote camera.

    The Wall Street Journal

    The Wall Street Journal

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