Foreign

February 26, 2022

Vladimir Putin’s weirdest animal moments as he rides topless on horse and cuddles kitten

By Richard Okotie

Vladimir Putin, who ordered his Russian military forces into neighbouring Ukraine, is a strongman who seems to enjoy playing with animals even as he starts wars in Europe.

He’s also keen to show the world what a great outdoorsman he is, regularly showing us how he’s managed to catch a fish or work with wildlife rangers.

But while he might hope that the snaps portray him as a tough leader, he has also opened himself up to ridicule on occasions.

Instagram was bombarded with people calling him ”Vladdy Daddy” in the run-up to his invasion of Ukraine, but it’s not the first time he has found himself the butt of a few jokes.

Here are some of his weirdest moments.

In one of his most famous poses, Putin is pictured bare-chested with a horse in 2019.

Many saw it as an attempt by Putin to look like a warrior leader, but the image opened him up for ridicule and jokers were quick to draw comparisons with the film Brokeback Mountain.

Edited images quickly did the rounds, including mock-ups of Putin and former US president Donald Trump riding topless on horseback together.

Walking in the snow near Moscow, the man who UK prime minister Boris Johnson today branded a “dictator” is seen playing with a Bulgarian shepherd and an Akita Inu in 2013.

Even while he shows the world how playful he is, Putin has his “Russia” branding on clear display during this photo opportunity – something that’s unlikely to have happened by accident.

In a bizarre 2017 calendar, Putin is pictured several times with animals. In this shot, he’s back on a horse – although he’s fully clothed this time – as well as cuddling a kitten.

The president is not usually one for huge grins but there’s almost a hint of smile as he holds the moggy.

Jokers said it was because holding the kitten made him feel like the evil Blofeld character in the Bond movies.

Putin is seen here playing with his dog, a female Akita Inu. This was just before he gave an interview to a Japanese newspaper and television station at the Kremlin in 2016.

Perhaps he thought that owning a breed that originated from Japan would endear him to his Japanese audience, or perhaps he just liked the optics of showing show the world how big his dog was.

Being skilled in the great outdoors is another thing the president likes to portray, and he regularly poses while hunting or fishing.

Seeing the opportunity to poke fun at their own leaders, one Indian Twitter user sarcastically reacted to this image by saying: “This is nothing compared to our PM who caught crocodiles with bare hands. News unverified but appears in school text books.”

Back in 2008, Putin helped a Russian scientist fit a GPS tracker to a tiger in the Ussuriysky forest reserve. As one person pointed out on Twitter, though, “Don’t worry, NSA is tracking it…”

It’s just one of several pictures of Putin with big cats, including images of him cuddling a leopard cub in Sochi and a tiger cub at his Moscow home, complete with a posh cat basket.

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