Bad news comrades: Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is not who you think he is. All those photos of him capturing endangered snow leopards, scuba diving in the Black Sea and hunting Siberian wildlife? Staged. Choreographed. Totally pre-cooked!
In an interview with Kremlin critic Masha Gessen, the Russian president confessed that his wildlife photo ops were staged but, in the end, totally worth it because they raised public awareness to Russia's conservation projects. Per Reuters:
"OF COURSE IT WAS A SET UP"
"Everything I do in this area (wildlife conservation) should have nothing to do with politics. But for a man in my position it is very difficult," Putin said.
Putin also admitted that a stunt last year for which he donned a wet suit and dove to the bottom of the Black Sea to apparently discover ancient amphorae was also not what it seemed.
In case you're wondering, amphorae are ancient jars like the ones he's heroically holding in this photo:
But wait, there's more! He also faked another famous adventure: The snow leopards.
"The leopards were also my idea," Putin was quoted as saying. "Yes, I know, they were caught before but the most important thing is to draw public attention to the problem."
He was apparently referring to an episode in 2011 when he was shown tagging and releasing a rare and injured snow leopard. Environmentalists again said it had been brought in specially.
Cut to scene:
So far, Putin hasn't owned up to any other fraudulent adventures, but one can only wonder what else he's hiding.
Did he really kick this judo master's ass?
Did his plane really drop water on a blazing forest fire south east of Moscow?
Is he really doing the butterfly in this southern Siberian lake—or is he just flailing his arms for help?
Is this horse CGI?
We don't know what to believe anymore...
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.