Vladimir Putin finds his thrill on 'Blueberry Hill'

So far in 2010, he's fired a crossbow at a whale from a speedboat, driven across Siberia in a Lada, and flown a plane over a burning forest to douse the flames with water. This weekend, it was time for Vladimir Putin to reveal a more artistic side, taking to the stage at a charity auction to play the piano and sing a rendition – in English – of Louis Armstrong's "Blueberry Hill".

Russia's action-man Prime Minister first played the melody gingerly at the piano, before taking to the stage to sing in heavily accented English, with a full backing band. The karaoke turn at a charity auction in St Petersburg was attended by a host of international film stars, including Kevin Costner, Gérard Depardieu and Sharon Stone, who clapped and sang along in the audience.

Mr Putin, dressed in a dark suit with no tie, appeared somewhat awkward at first, but soon got into his stride, gesturing to the audience while singing the line "For you were my thrill", and tapping his feet to the music. His accent meant that his rendition sounded more like "Blyubirry Kheel", but he hit all the notes.

His ego was doubtless given a boost by the standing ovation from the hall when he finished the number. According to Russia Today, a Kremlin-funded television station, Mr Putin returned to the piano later in the evening to sing "Where the homeland starts", a former KGB favourite that he claims to have sung in private with Anna Chapman and the other Russian spies deported from the US earlier this year. It was also reported that after the concert finished, Mr Putin took Sharon Stone by the arm and they sang a song about Russian cosmonauts together.

Russia Today claimed that Mr Putin was deeply reluctant to take the stage, and the whole episode was entirely impromptu. Apparently, Mr Putin was approached by a hostess and asked to sing, but refused. "However, after seeing the pictures of ill children shown to the audience on the big screen, he took to the stage," the channel reported.

But was more likely to be a well-rehearsed publicity move, in line with much of the Prime Minister's activity, meant to keep him in the public eye and portray him as a talented superman for the domestic audience.

Mr Putin's stunts are usually more masculine – he has released a DVD of judo tips, shot a tiger with a tranquilliser dart and posed for a bare-chested photo-shoot on a horse.

But from time to time, he shows a more creative side. At a charity auction last year, a painting that he had "dashed off" in a single day fetched £750,000.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: SAGE Bookkeeper & PA to Directors

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map