Siberia's Marlboro Man Bare-Chested Putin Answers Call of the Wild
Hanging out eating hamburgers at a family barbecue in Kennebunkport may be all very well for lily-livered presidents, but world leaders who are real men prefer to go fishing in Siberia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin answered the call of the wild on Monday when he took Monaco's Prince Albert II on a wilderness adventure in southern Russia.
The two nature-lovers traveled to the city of Kyzyl, located about 4,700 kilometers (2,900 miles) southeast of Moscow in the southern Russian republic of Tuva. From there, they went by helicopter and boat to an island in Lake Tere-Khol, where they visited a yurt -- a tent used by Mongolian nomads -- and toured the grounds of a 1,200-year-old fortress which is being excavated.
Later, Putin and Albert went fishing on the Yenisey River, where the Russian leader stripped to the waist, revealing an impressively-trim torso for a 54-year-old man -- and a set of army-style dog tags. The former KGB agent is a keen judo practitioner and holds a 6th-dan black belt in the Japanese martial art.
On Sunday, Albert visited Putin at Peterhof, a 18th-century czarist summer estate on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, near Putin's hometown of St. Petersburg. There Putin thanked Albert -- who represents Monaco on the International Olympic Committee -- for backing Russia's successful bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. The prince attended last month's IOC meeting in Guatemala, which awarded the Games to Russia.
Albert himself is no slouch in the outdoors stakes. The prince is an avid polar explorer and made a dogsled trip to the North Pole last year.