To mark the release of the Russian president’s 2017 calendar, we’ve put together a snapshot of Vladimir Putin’s most macho moments
HAVING been a thorn in the side of the US and Europe for almost 15 years, Vladimir Putin is well aware of his bad guy image.
But his off-duty exploits do little to dispel his almost comical similarities to a fictional James Bond villain.
To mark the release of the Russian president’s 2017 calendar, we’ve put together a snapshot of his greatest moments.
Among them are carefully managed photo opportunities in the Siberian wilderness and well as forays on the ice hockey rink and judo stage.
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Horse riding in Siberia
In 2009 the cult of Putin was born with these remarkable images. Taken in the the Tuva region, the then Prime Minister took off his shirt and donned sunglasses for the ride.
He is seen wearing boots and practical outdoorsman trousers – pieces of clothing he wears regularly during forays into the wilderness.
This set of pictures are among the most famous to emerge of Putin – and sparked the creation of his macho image.
Exploring ancient wrecks
Last year Putin’s most bizarre stunt involved diving to the bottom of the Black Sea aboard a research vessel to inspect an ancient shipwreck.
Looking like the archetypal Bond villain, he was photographed peering out from the ship moments before it descended underwater in the sea near the Crimea.
He took the mini-submarine about 270ft underwater to inspect a Byzantine trading ship – having only months earlier wrested control of the area from Ukraine.
Fly fishing in the wild
In other trips to his beloved Siberian wilderness, Putin took time out to go fly fishing.
He chose to go topless for this photo series too and even wore his trademark outdoors boots, cargo trousers and sunglasses.
The pictures were taken on the Khemchik River in Republic of Tuva 15 August 2007.
Riding with biker gangs
In 2011, Putin was seen joining a youth organisation called The Night Wolves in a motorbike convoy through Novorossiysk.
Dressed in leather from head to toe – but without a helmet -he actually led the convoy on a massive three wheel bike.
Vlad the animal lover
The 60-year-old has also been keen in recent years to broadcast his softer side – by photographing himself with animals.
He appears to have a particular affinity with dogs and has been seen cuddling them on numerous occasions.
A spot of dentistry?
Even Putin would admit he is not trained to be a dentist. Or would he?
In 2011 he was photographed at a dental surgery holding a borer over Governor of the Belgorod Region Yevgeny Savchenko.
The pair appear to be joking – though knowing Putin’s history in the KGB during the Cold War gives it a menacing vibe.
Putin plays sport
A key part of Putin’s macho image is the dozens of photographs showing off his athletic prowess.
In 2015, he took part in an ice hockey game between Kremlin officials and oligarchs and former NHL stars.
The game ended with Putin’s team claiming victory – and the victorious president hoisting the trophy above his head.
He is also a keen disciple of judo, plays badminton, rides snowmobiles and works out at the gym.
The former spy
Putin was famously a KGB agent in East Germany during the height of the Cold War, before later going on to run the agency’s successor, the Federal Security Service.
In pictures released in 2006, he showed he still knew his way around a gun when photographed opening a military intelligence headquarters building.
Putin decided part of the ceremony would be him personally testing out its new shooting range.
Performing for his fans
In 2010 Putin revealed he was a whiz on the piano by performing at a charity concert in Saint Petersburg.
Wearing a trademark dark suit, he was seen playing a grand piano while a crowd of thousands watched.
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