Russian President Vladimir Putin went "fishing" the other day, and if we are to believe what all government-run news agencies tell us, he hooked and netted a 46-pound pike fish. The charismatic outdoorsman then went on to pucker up with the fish on camera after being warned it might bite him. Despite public suspicions, Russian officials are standing behind the video and 46-pound weigh-in — the same way an 8-year-old stands behind not knowing where the cookies went while donning a face full of crumbs.
Russian Internet users took issue with the Kremlin's claims of the fish' weight. They posted pictures of their own catches, pike that looked much bigger than Putin's catch, that apparently only weighed about 26.5 pounds. Commenters on the photo also speculated that they weighed the fish the same way they count votes, indicating a skepticism in the Russian election system. For Putin, it seems that suspicion is growing that his reputation as a rugged outdoorsman is being called into question.
Putin holds a black belt in martial arts, talks to dolphins, and drives open-wheel racecars when the Kremlin isn't calling (I would tear him up in some split-screen Tetris, though). This story made me imagine how Americans would react if President Obama and Ted Nugent posted Vine videos from a never-going-to-happen wild game safari trip together. We seem to take enough issue with the idea that a president would take time off from work, despite all the pressing economic and foreign policy issues our country faces every day. But to do so and then revel in it as well? Something tells me that as Americans, we might not be as amused as our friends in the East.