Vladimir Putin guided a flock of Siberian cranes to their winter habitat this week by piloting a motorized hang glider while dressed in a Siberian crane costume.
This marks a resurgence of photoshoot worthy exploits by the Russian president after he had eased off his propogandizing during his reelection campaign. In recent years, Putin rode a horse shirtless through Siberia, tranquilized a tiger, extracted tissue samples from a whale using a crossbow, and discovered fragments from ancient Greek urns while diving in the Black Sea. The last of which Putin’s spokesman later admitted was actually staged.
The stunt triggered plenty of response from Putin’s detractors. Two political cartoons, the NYT notes, were printed “showing resentful-looking cranes and Mr. Putin wearing cardboard wings, telling them: ‘Let’s assign roles right now. I’ll be the alpha crane!’ Another, darker one went this way: Mr. Putin looked at the crane and said, ‘I will save you!’ The crane looked at the president and thought, ‘Maybe I’d better die out.'”