Vladimir Putin Is Not Jonny Quest

His press secretary admits a deep-sea diving discovery was staged

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So, maybe it's not so surprising that one of Vladimir Putin's many action-adventure episodes wasn't real. On Wednesday, The New York Times and other news outlets confirmed what random YouTube commenters suspected for a month or so. That miraculous video where Putin was seen diving to the floor of the Black Sea and digging up "6th century" artifacts was very fake. The newspaper reports:

In an interview released late on Tuesday, [press secretary Dmitri S.] Peskov said that the jugs had actually been found by archeologists during an expedition 'several weeks or days before.' They were then placed in six feet of water, where Mr. Putin, dressed in a wetsuit and trailed by cameramen, could find them.

UK's The Telegraph notes that the admission is "at odds with how the episode was presented to the Russian public on state TV" when it appeared to air in August. At the time, the YouTube commentariat weren't the only ones suspicious. After the photo shoot, The Guardian reported, "Critics said Putin's pots were suspiciously unmossy and were probably planted specially for him to discover."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.