The Kremlin has released pictures of Russian President Vladimir Putin showing us that his image as a rugged, macho man is justified even as his popularity back home dips. The workout session brings to mind Putin's earlier publicity stunts, like when he rode a horse shirtless, hunted a tiger, or flew a supersonic jet.Wearing a white T-shirt, track suit trousers and running shoes, Putin is shown on a muscle-building apparatus.
Russian President Vladimir Putin exercises during his meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, unseen, at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia (AP Photo)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, foreground, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev exercise during their meeting at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia (AP Photo)
Putin's approval ranking has been dented by a sluggish economy and free-falling rouble whose value has halved since last year due to a decline in the oil price and Western sanction over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis. After their workout, at Putin's Black Sea's residence of Bocharov Ruchei, near Sochi, the two politicians were shown on television grilling meat and having tea, adding to the healthy and wholesome picture.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev jokingly toast having a lunch during their meeting at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia (AP Photo)
Putin's rating remains very high by Western standards. A poll, published on Friday in business daily Vedomosti by the Public Opinion Foundation, showed 72% of Russians would have voted for Putin in August, down from 76% in May.
According to polling organisation the Levada Center, Putin's approval rating was 61% in November 2013, the lowest since 2000 when he was first elected President, but it surged above 80% early last year as Russians rallied around his actions over Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev exercise in a gym at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, Russia (REUTERS Photo)
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (L) talks with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at a gym at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi (AFP Photo)