Russian, Bare Armed, Half-Naked Putin Excites Gays, Gun-Owners

Photos of a shirtless Vladimir Putin on vacation in Siberia have stirred numerous debates and set hearts aflutter. But some of the photos of him taken on the same trip -- topless and with a rifle -- were only made available to the Russian media.

Apparently Russian President Vladimir Putin thinks that the world can handle him with weapons and him without a shirt on, but not both at the same time.

Yes, Russia, it would seem that that is for your eyes only.

Whereas shirtless photos of the Russian president were released almost three weeks ago, showing him topless while fishing, hiking and horseback riding, a new photo has appeared in the Russian press from that same trip that shows him walking through the brush shirtless and with a rifle.

The photos of the 54-year-old statesman come from his camping trip with Prince Albert II of Monaco to Siberia near its border with Mongolia. In the photos, Putin wears boots, green military-style pants, a bush hat and a long, sheathed knife at his waist.

Other recent photos showed the judo black belt at the MAKS-2007 Air Show outside Moscow, where the Russia military aviation industry tried to impress with its hardware and fancy formation flying.

But last week, the Russian tabloid Argumenty i fakty printed an exclusive photo of Putin tromping Rambo-like through the Siberian bush. His pants are barely discernable in the photos and, if it weren't for the comparison to be found in the other photos, one might even think he was 100 percent au naturale.

A competing paper, Komsomolskaja Prawda, ran a "Be Like Putin" article instructing men on exercises they can do to develop a robust torso like Putin's.

Taken together, the photos have caused quite a stir. Newspapers and other information sources have widely reported on the positive echo Putin's photos have found among Russia's women and have claimed that photos of the fit former KGB agent have been circulating like wildfire through gay chat-rooms on the Internet. Comparisons to "Brokeback Mountain," the 2005 film about the homosexual relationship of two cowboys in Wyoming, have also been made to the camping trip of the Putin and Prince Albert.

Speculation has also circulated in news sources about why Putin is baring himself -- literally -- to the world. As some would have it, it is an attempt to increase his popularity to the point that the Russian constitution is amended. Putin is set to step down next year after having served the two-term limit currently allowed by Russia's constitution.



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