Vladimir Putin bares chest and chases fish with speargun on macho Siberian holiday adventure

The Russian president – ever keen to boost his strongman credentials – let it be known he chased the predatory pike underwater for two hours before catching it 

Adam Lusher
Saturday 05 August 2017 18:54
Video released of Vladimir Putin's macho fishing holiday

As Donald Trump gets criticised for taking a golfing vacation, his rival Vladimir Putin has again sought to boost his macho credentials by revealing what he did on his holiday.

This time the Russian president has let it be known that when he went fishing, he didn’t just sit by the bank quietly waiting with rod and line – he dived into a Siberian lake, chased a pike for two hours underwater and then caught it with a speargun.

And he didn’t stop there. He bared his manly chest as he fished (this time, with rod and line) alongside Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who also bared his manly chest. And of course the holiday snaps, and video, were later released to the media.

Presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told Tass, the Russian government-owned news agency: “It was a very brief, but very eventful trip.”

Mr Peskov added that the pike – an underwater predator with razor sharp teeth – was caught after Mr Putin, 64, donned a diving suit and snorkel and started spearfishing, using a GoPro camera to film his underwater adventure.

“He filmed some unique footage while hunting a pike,” Peskov told Tass. “He chased a pike for two hours before eventually hitting it.”

He was also pictured bare chested beside his defence minister Sergei Shoigu (Getty)

The spearfishing appears to be the latest in a long line of exploits seemingly designed to establish Mr Putin’s strongman image with the Russian public.

The former KGB spy has been photographed riding bare chested on the Russian steppe, vanquishing his judo opponent, and saving the life of TV crew by shooting a tranquilliser dart into a wild Siberian tiger as it attacked.

However, some environmentalists later suggested the ‘wild’ tiger had in fact been taken from a zoo as part of a publicity stunt.

Mr Putin is likely to regard his latest holiday as another PR triumph.

He was also photographed kayaking, swimming manfully through the bracing waters of southern Siberia’s Tuva region, and posing (bare chested) with the many fish he caught.

Putin with a perch, this time caught by rod and line fishing (Getty)

The former KGB agent turned ‘strongman’ president seems to like being photographed bare chested (Getty)

Such image-making happiness seems in marked contrast to the current vacation experience of US President Donald Trump, who has been criticised for leaving the White House for a 17-day “working holiday” at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

This summer break will last twice as long as the one Barack Obama enjoyed on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts during his first year in office – despite Mr Trump having regularly criticised his predecessor for taking time off.

Mr Trump has also frequently boasted about how hard he would work for the American people, telling a New Hampshire campaign rally: “I’d just want to stay in the White House and work my ass off and make great deals.”

He also wrote in his 2004 book: “Don’t take vacations … If you’re not enjoying your work, you’re in the wrong job.” He even told chat show host Larry King: “Most of the people I know that are successful really don’t take vacations”.

The Washington Post has now calculated he has taken more than three times as many days off as Mr Obama had enjoyed at the same stage in his tenure – although presidential aides have said the latest break is partly driven by necessity, as the White House is to be vacated of staff to allow for heating maintenance works.

Mr Trump’s fondness for golf has also come under scrutiny after his swiftly sacked director of communications Anthony Scaramucci briefed reporters that the president “sinks 3ft putts”.

In the official White House transcript of the briefing, the 3ft putts became far more impressive 30ft putts.

It was not immediately clear whether this was an accidental typo, or a deliberate attempt to enhance the reputation of the American leader.

Either way, it does remain a long way off the claim in the authorised biography of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il that on his first foray onto a golf course, he shot a 38-under-par round that included no fewer than 11 holes in one.

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