In light of plummeting popularity, Russian president Vladimir Putin did what any good president would do: he created an entire TV show full of pro-Putin propaganda to remind his people that he’s the bee’s knees. On the show, which appears on state-run TV and is titled Moscow. Kremlin. Putin, the autocratic leader is shown meeting a baby, taking questions from teenagers at a pre-recorded event, and vacationing in the mountains of southern Siberia.
The timing of the show is suspect. Putin’s approval ratings recently dropped from around 80 to the mid 60s amid a hugely unpopular plan to save money on state pensions by raising the retirement age. A large chunk of the show was about the pension changes, and Putin’s press secretary, Dmitri Peskov, joined as an in-studio guest to talk about how great Putin is. At one point, Peskov even assured viewers that if Putin happened to run into any bears while on his mountain vacation, “If they (bears) see Putin, they will behave properly.”
Then came the moment everyone knew was coming: Putin on a mountain doing outdoorsy things. A camera crew followed Putin as he picked berries and mushrooms, and as he whispered while on a boat so as to not scare away the mountain goats grazing by the shore line.
Throughout his years in office, Putin has become known for making propaganda videos touting him as an outdoorsman, and this one’s actually pretty tame. In the past, he’s tranquilized a tiger; seemed to discover fragments of ancient Greek artifacts while scuba diving in the Black Sea which was later revealed to be staged; and then there’s that famous picture of Putin riding a horse without a shirt. Putin’s shirt remained on throughout the show.