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Laughing at Putin's Pike

Vladimir Putin's presidential photo-ops, which grow more absurd with each passing year, are reliable fodder for online satire. In his latest publicity stunt, Putin joined Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on a fishing trip in the Krasnoyarsk krai and Tyva Republic. From the moment the Kremlin's press office published photographs of this macho excursion, the images sparked a wave of netizen derision.

Vladimir Putin poses with his catch, Krasnoyarsk, Russia, 20 July 2013, Kremlin photo service, public domain.

Vladimir Putin poses with his catch, Krasnoyarsk, Russia, 20 July 2013, Kremlin photo service, public domain.

The Twitter account for the website Grani.ru, for instance, rallied Web users to caption some of the photos:

Путин! Щука! Магадан! Давайте придумаем подпись под фото

Putin! A pike! Magadan! Let’s think up a caption for this photo

One twitter user referenced Putin’s recent divorce in response, joking:

“Люда, вернись!”

“Luda, come back!”

In response to a photo of Putin kissing the fish he caught, Twitter user Seva Chagaev observed:

Дед совсем с ума сошел.

Grandpa has totally lost his mind.

Writing on LiveJournal, Andrei Malgin reposted [ru] four shirtless photos of a fishing Putin, observing with some insinuation that Medvedev had been the photographer.

Some bloggers, like LiveJournal's viking_nord, have poked fun at Putin's fishing trip by connecting it back to his recently announced divorce. Above, a pike-fish replaces Putin's ex-wife at Orthodox church service.

One commenter remarked that the images possibly violate Russia's recent law banning “homosexual propaganda”:

вообще, от фоток попахивает запрещенной пропагандой.

generally speaking, the photos give off a whiff of banned propaganda.

Another LJ user quipped:

а где Светлана??? Или теперь нет вопросов- ради кого развёлся путин??

And where is Svetlana??? Or is there now no question who broke up Putin's marriage??

A more serious commenter stated:

Кстати, меня, как женщину с консервативными, традиционными взглядами [...], эти фотографии смущают. Я считаю, что их место, в лучшем случае, в семейном альбоме, но никак не в официальных источниках о досуге главы государства.

By the way, as a woman with conservative, traditional views… [...] these photos bother me. I believe that their place is, at best, in a family album, but definitely not in the official record of the head of state.

In response, another commenter wrote:

видимо, у них противоположная целевая аудитория..

Apparently they have a different target audience..

Commenter Yuri Dvorkin played Kremlinologist:

В прошлый раз, когда они рыбачили под Астраханью, Медведев узнал о своем желании выдвинуть Путина в президенты. Не узнал ли в этот раз Медведев о своем желании подать в отставку? 23 сентября покажет.

The last time they went fishing in Astrakhan, Medvedev learned about his desire to nominate Putin [to serve a third term] as president. This time, did Medvedev find out about his desire to resign? September 23 will reveal the answer.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin's press secretary, Dmitri Peskov, told the media that Putin's catch weighed 21 kilograms (46.2 pounds). This claim provoked the incredulity of many bloggers, who posted photographs [ru] of similar-sized pike-fish, also catch by various fishermen, that weighed only half a much.

Bloggers take issue with the President's Press Secretary's claim about the weight of Putin's catch. Top left pike is 9.2 kg, bottom left is 12.7 kg, and Peskov says Putin's was somehow 21 kg.

Russian mathematician and economist Alfred Kokh did the math on the weight of Putin’s fish, and concluded:

Таким образом пойманная Путиным щука весит от силы 10 – 11 кг., а не 21 как врет Песков.

Странные у них представления о числах, объемах, количестве. То на митинге численностью в 100 000 чел. они видят только 10 000.

So Putin caught a pike weighing between 10-11 kg—not 21 [kg], as Peskov lies.

They have a strange understanding of numbers, amounts, and quantities. At a [political, anti-government] demonstration numbering 100,000 people, they see only 10,000.

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