Putin’s Latest Action Photo Op

PutinWhaleChasing082510.jpgA day after Medvedev sipped tea with Bono on the sunny veranda of his summer villa, Putin chased whales in choppy waters near Russia’s Pacific coast. How symbolic of the role division in the Medvedev-Putin duumvirate. The AFP reports:

Dressed in heavy waterproofs, Putin fired arrows from an inflatable raft off the volcanic Kamchatka Peninsula at a rare grey whale to obtain a skin sample, managing to hit the animal at the fourth attempt…

…”There was a real feeling of exhilaration — I missed three times but hit on the fourth attempt,” Putin told reporters after returning to the shore after a trip of several hours that saw the boat buffeted by a rolling surf.

Television pictures showed the whale breaking the surface of the wateras the premier looked on. The skin sample was successfully returned tothe shore.

His guide Vladimir Burkanov, a top expert from the Pacific OceanInstitute of Oceanography, dryly commented: “We do not normally work inthese conditions. The waves were very high.”

All the exploits have been exhaustively broadcast on state media, andthe television showed a curious exchange with a shore-bound journalistwho asked the premier why he enjoyed such extreme activities.

“I like it. I like our nature. I respect it as it does so much good,” said Putin.

“But in principle it’s dangerous!” objected the journalist.

“Living in general is dangerous,” Putin quipped.

(AP Photo/ RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, pool)