Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin stretches during his visit to a sports center, in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010.
Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin wrestles down an unidentified sportsman as he visits a sports centre in St. Petersburg on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2010.
Aug. 25: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a crossbow as he sits on a rubber boat at the Olga Harbor of Kamchatka Peninsula during a scientific expedition, to study grey whales. When questioned about the risk of attempting the challenge in such rough waters, he said: "Living in general is dangerous."
Aug. 25: Putin's latest PR activity, tagging endangered whales, fuels his image as healthy, active and brave ahead of presidential elections in 2012, when it is rumored he may return and serve a third term as Russia's president.
Aug. 25: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holds a crossbow as he sits on a rubber boat at the Olga Harbor of Kamchatka Peninsula during a scientific expedition, his latest in a string of macho man activities that include shooting a Siberian tiger with a tranquilizer gun, releasing leopards into a wildlife sanctuary and satellite-tracking polar bears.
July 24 2010: Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, right, rides a Harley Davidson Lehman Trike as he arrives for the meeting with Russian and Ukrainian motorbikers at their camp near Sevastopol in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula.
July 24 2010: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of motorbikers at their camp at Gasfort lake near Sevastopol in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula.
Aug. 3 2009: Putin shows his softer side, but still his shirtless side, as he rides a horse together with a local boy while traveling in the mountains of the Siberian Tyva region in Russia.
On the left, Putin shows off a set of rippling arm muscles as he demonstrates his butterfly stroke while vacationing in Tuva, Russia on Aug. 3 2009.
On the right, the then Russian president fishes in the headwaters of the Khemchik River in the Tuva region of Siberia, Russia in August, 2007. In its September 'Sexy Rating' list that year, Russia's Sex & the City magazine ranked now Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the second sexiest Russian politician.
Looks like the macho leader is stripping down to keep up the image and grab the title again two years later.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is seen riding a horse in the mountains of the Siberian Tyva region in Russia during a summer vacation on Aug. 3 2009 (left). Putin, who will be 58 in October, projected his buff image abroad in a series of shirtless, action-man poses.
On the right, Putin smiles on a bank of the Khemchik River, Tuva region, Siberia, in 2007, in a similar stunt to portray his robust health and strength.
Stripped down to his waist, Putin strikes a macho pose with a horse during his vacation in Tuva, Russia on Aug. 3 2009 (left). Putin camped overnight, road horses through rugged terrain, and went whitewater rafting down the region’s fast-flowing rivers. The unspoken context of the pictures, showing Putin sporting a hat similar to that worn by Indiana Jones, is that he would be fit to return as president in 2012 if he chose to.
On the right, Putin, as Russian president, walks without his shirt along the Khemchik River in the Tuva region of Siberia, Russia, in 2007. The now prime minister has a habit of stripping for the cameras.
Vladimir Putin puts in an appearance at a judo school in St. Petersburg, Russia. A black belt, Putin and Yasuhiro Yamashita, a World and Olympic judo champion from Japan, made an instructional video together.
His apparent physical fitness helped build his popularity among Russians after years with the hard-drinking and chronically ill Boris Yeltsin as president.
Putin, walking shirtless along the Khemchik River in the Tuva region of Siberia, Russia, in 2007, follows a Soviet tradition of lauding the prowess, usually imaginary, of party leaders who often pose in rugged action shots.
Aug. 3, 2009: In a rare shot of Putin with a shirt on during his vacation in Tuva, Russia, the prime minister presents his wristwatch to a local boy while traveling by horse in the mountains of the Siberian Tyva region.
Aug. 3, 2009: In a scene straight out of "Indiana Jones," Vladimir Putin proves his masculinity as he adjusts his hat and sits in a tree while traveling in the the Siberian Tyva region, Russia.
Aug. 3 2009: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin rides a horse topless in the mountains of the Siberian Tyva region, Russia, during a summer vacation. The pictures were taken just days after Mr Putin completed his latest action adventure by diving to the bottom of Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest lake, in a mini-submarine.
Aug. 3 2009: Putin shows off his manly physique and rippling arm muscles as he demonstrates his butterfly stroke during a swim.
Wearing only green fatigues, his eyes hidden behind reflective sunglasses, the Russian prime minister spent much of his vacation posing for action shots during a macho man photo op.
Aug. 3, 2009: Stripped down to fatigues and sunglasses, macho man Putin feeds a horse in front of the waiting cameras.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is at it again -- wielding a crossbow on rough seas during a whale tracking expedition in his never-ending quest to showcase his masculinity. Take a look back at some of his most macho moments.