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Putin pipped to post in sexy vote

Vladimir Putin’s macho image has made him plenty of fans among Russian women but according to one magazine, that doesn’t quite make him the nation’s sexiest politician.

world Updated: Sep 06, 2008 00:43 IST

He reportedly saved a TV crew from the jaws of a tiger. He flexed his muscles in front of the cameras in Siberia. He cuts a dash on the ski slopes.

Vladimir Putin’s macho image has made him plenty of fans among Russian women — but according to one magazine, that doesn’t quite make him the nation’s sexiest politician.

Sex & the City magazine’s ranking of the nation’s 20 sexiest politicians gives the top slot to Boris Nemtsov, a former opposition leader widely seen as a spent political force. Prime Minister Putin came in second.

“This is good news ... but I don’t take it too seriously,” said Nemtsov, who is pictured sitting on a bed, barefoot and dressed in a gray silk shirt.

It’s rare that Putin loses out in any popularity contest at home — where he is widely admired for having restored national pride and stability after the difficult post-Soviet years under Boris Yeltsin.

Russia remains a country with carefully controlled images of its leadership — so it is unlikely an opposition figure could have pushed Putin into second place on weightier matters like leadership qualities.

Still, Sergei Markov, a pro-Kremlin lawmaker, said he was taken aback.

“Putin is way better than Nemtsov,” he said. “He’s one of the sexiest politicians in the world.” His looks may be average, he conceded, but his “decisive, harsh and unbending” character makes him extremely attractive.