It seems there is no such thing as too much of Vladimir Putin’s bare chest.
For the second time in three days, the Kremlin has released video of the Russian president’s recent macho holiday adventures in Siberia — with even more hunting, boating and underwater spearfishing — and plenty of new scenes of a shirtless Putin enjoying the outdoors.
The first round of photos and videos was released Saturday morning in Moscow and played unrelentingly on Russia’s main state television channels all weekend. They also featured prominently online and in the country’s major newspapers.
Putin, 64, is well-known for his action-man image and photo ops. In the past, he’s been featured shooting tigers, hugging polar bears and once even scoring seven goals in a hockey game on his birthday.
These latest images — including 47 minutes of new raw video released Monday morning on the Kremlin’s official website — reinforce the idea of an indefatigable, physically fit leader able to tackle the hardiest challenges.
The Moscow Komsomolets, one of the capital’s most widely read papers, gushed: “How could you not vote for a torso like that?”
And in fact, that appears to be the main purpose behind the timing of the Putin photo shoot.
No declaration yet
Russia’s next presidential election is in March 2018 and while Putin hasn’t officially declared his intention to run for a second consecutive term and fourth overall, many here see the timing as marking the unofficial launch of his campaign, a contest he’s widely expected to win easily.
Putin’s outdoor activies, said spokesman Dmitry Peskov, speak to “the physical fitness” of the president.
Putin’s outdoor heroics have consistently resonated with Russian voters and the response this time has been overwhelmingly positive as well.
Some Russians even suggested Putin’s flat stomach and lean physique may have actually improved since the first time he took his shirt off for the cameras 10 years ago.
“It seems like he’s trying to conquer the heart of voters,” the Komsomolets continued, suggesting the president is something of a modern day Indiana Jones adventure hero.
“Who else could pack so much…