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 is titled Moscow. Kremlin. Putin and appears on state-run TV, the autocrat meets a baby, takes questions from teenagers at a prerecorded event, and vacations in the mountains of southern Siberia.
The timing 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, appeared 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, “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 and appeared to discover fragments of ancient Greek artifacts while scuba diving in the Black Sea — a feat that was later revealed to be staged. Then there’s that famous picture of him riding a horse without a shirt.
Putin’s shirt remained on throughout this show.
Watch the former ambassador to Russia vehemently deny Putin’s ‘crazy’ accusations:
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