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Home / World / Putin dives to bottom of world’s deepest lake

Putin dives to bottom of world’s deepest lake

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Saturday dived to the bottom of Lake Baikal in Siberia aboard a mini-submarine, the latest stunt by the increasingly multi-tasking Russian strongman.

world Updated: Aug 01, 2009, 16:32 IST
AFP

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Saturday dived to the bottom of Lake Baikal in Siberia aboard a mini-submarine, the latest stunt by the increasingly multi-tasking Russian strongman.

State television pictures showed Putin donning blue overalls and clambering aboard the Mir-1 submarine before being hoisted into the water to begin his journey to the bottom of the deepest lake in the world.

“The dive is going perfectly, there is a perfect view with the lights,” Putin told Russian journalists from the depths of the lake on a specially organised radio link-up, the Interfax news agency reported.

However he expressed some surprise about how murky the water is in the lake, which contains around a fifth of the world’s freshwater reserves.

“The water of course is clean from an ecological point of view but in fact it’s a plankton soup, or so I called it,” he said.

The Mir-1 is the same mini-submarine that in 2008 set a world record for the deepest dive in a lake by diving to 1,680 metres (5,512 feet). Russian news agencies said Putin had dived to a depth of around 1,400 metres (4,600 feet).

Interfax said the Mir-1 reached the bottom of the lake at 0500 GMT, around an hour after the start of the dive. Judo-mad Putin, 56, prides himself on keeping a peak physical condition and has raised eyebrows with a series of highly mediatized stunts over the last years.

Just the day earlier, he clipped a radio transmitter onto a beluga whale named Dasha in Russia’s Far East. Famous official pictures taken during his 2000-2008 presidency showed him fishing with a muscular naked torso that would impress any fitness fanatic while last year he fired a tranquilising dart at a tiger in the Far East.

But imagemakers have clearly been at pains to promote a softer side and the last months have seen him in unexpected situations ranging from singing in a classroom to denouncing the hunting of baby seals.

ht epaper

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