The Kremlin has issued new photos of ‘macho’ Vladimir Putin fishing and hunting in the wilds of Siberia during a camping trip with his loyal defence minister.
The Russian leader, 69 next month, is currently self-isolating due to a Covid-19 outbreak in his entourage and the photos were taken during the trip to the taiga earlier this month.
It has led to suggestions that the strongman, who is facing health rumours, could be lining up minister Sergey Shoigu as his successor.
Unusually, the images were only released around two-and-a-half weeks after they were filmed, amid suggestions of a ploy to counter the doubts about his health, with analysts claiming he needs to undergo surgery over a longstanding issue hidden from the Russian public.
The Kremlin has issued new photos of ‘macho’ Vladimir Putin on the trail of a brown bear and fishing in the wilds of Siberia
Putin is seen driving an off-road vehicle, steering a boat on a Siberian river, fishing pike, and walking through mountains
The ‘action man’ videos and photos were only released around two-and-a-half weeks after they were filmed
Footage shows Shoigu pointing out a bear’s den – where a beast had been ‘sleeping’ – and they also went on the trail of ibex in the Sayano-Shushensky Nature Reserve in Khakassia.
Putin is seen driving an off-road vehicle, steering a boat on a Siberian river, fishing pike, and walking through mountains.
The Kremlin leader also admitted he was nearly knocked over as he drove past a red maral deer.
‘Huge marals – I haven’t seen anything like that,’ he was reported as saying.
‘Good thing they didn’t hit us – they nearly did. And at such a high speed. Jumping….
Putin – currently ‘self-isolating’ due to a Covid-19 ‘outbreak’ in his entourage – is seen with his loyal defence minister Sergei Shoigu
He took a 72-hour camping trip in the taiga, believed to be the Sayano-Shushensky Nature Reserve in Khakassi
The vacation in Siberia was over by 8 September – but the first footage only appeared today in Moscow
‘As for the Olympics, nobody was as good as them.’
Russian viewers were also shown the inside of Putin’s tent with a simple camping bed.
Shoigu teased the Russian leader over a mock fireplace – but Putin said ‘you shouldn’t laugh’ because the infrared heater, while not a proper hearth, still warmed his tent.
He was also pictured sitting beside a proper campfire – as he is accused of limiting gas supplies to Europe this winter, risking a new Cold War for people in their homes.
Putin was also shown footage of snow leopard cubs and also a gruesome kill by a brown bear snatching an ibex kid.
‘It’s tough footage, but it is nature’, said reserve director Gennady Kiselev.
It follows a parliamentary election hailed as free and fair by the Kremlin, but Communists took to the streets this weekend to claim vast vote-rigging
The Kremlin leader admitted he was nearly knocked over as he drove past a red maral deer
The vacation in Siberia was over by 8 September – but the first footage only appeared today in Moscow.
It follows a parliamentary election hailed as free and fair by the Kremlin, but Communists took to the streets this weekend to claim vast vote-rigging.
Independent election analyst Sergei Shpilkin alleged fraud led to 14 million votes being added to the pro-Putin United Russia vote.
The footage and pictures is also released as Putin is reportedly self-isolating due to a mass outbreak of Covid-19 in his entourage.
But doubts have been expressed about the virus penetrating huge security that was known to be in place around Putin.
One Putin health-watcher, political analyst Valery Solovei, claimed last week on Echo Moscow radio that Putin ‘needs to undergo surgery’.
The footage and pictures is also released as Putin is reportedly self-isolating due to a mass outbreak of Covid-19 in his entourage
‘Either he has already had it done, or he will tonight,’ he said.
Yet Putin was seen on TV talking by videoconference to parliamentary party leaders on Saturday.
Solovei and a Telegram channel linked to him and an unnamed disaffected former Lt-General with reported connections in the Kremlin elite have previously alleged that Putin has a major health problem that has been hidden from Russians.
Sociologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya, an observer of ruling circles in Russia claimed that a transition of power is gradually underway although the identity of Putin’s successor was not known.
‘The plan of the transition is, of course, kept secret,’ she was quoted as saying, but there have been other rumours that Putin is identifying his favoured people for the succession.
One Putin health-watcher, political analyst Valery Solovei, claimed last week on Echo Moscow radio that Putin ‘needs to undergo surgery’
One is certainly seen as Shoigu, 66, a frequent vacation buddy and the man who led a huge massing of Russian forces on the border of Ukraine earlier this year, is seen on the videos being comfortable in Putin’s presence.
Another possible successor, former Putin bodyguard Yevgeny Zinichev, 55, the Kremlin’s emergencies minister, was killed in a mysterious incident in the Arctic earlier this month when he ‘fell off a cliff seeking to rescue a man’.
The Kremlin has repeatedly and strongly denied as ‘complete nonsense’ claims from the channel SVR General that Putin is suffering from either early stage Parkinson’s Disease or abdominal cancer.
The channel claimed that Putin is undergoing treatment this month and that the Covid-19 breakout report is likely a smokescreen.