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Russian President Vladimir Putin Hits the Gym to Pump up His Tough-Guy Image

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RIA Novosti/Mikhail Klimentyev/Presidential Press Service/AP

Russian President Vladimir Putin has always worked hard to project an image of strength – but this time he’s taking it literally.

New photos released by the Kremlin show the Russian leader pumping iron in an apparent attempt to pump up his tough-guy image (and his popularity).

Unlike past publicity stunts, where Putin, 62, was conspicuously shirtless – riding a horse, flying a supersonic jet and hunting a tiger – this time the Russian leader is wearing a modest white T-shirt, sweatpants and sneakers. He can be seen lifting weights at the gym at his Black Sea summer residence near Sochi, the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
RIA-Novosti/Ekaterina Shtukina/Government Press Service/AP

Putin even had a workout partner, Prime Minister Dmitrty Medvedev, who can be seen doing chin ups and arm presses.

After the workout, the two had a sip of tea. To stick with the macho theme, they also grilled beef, NBC reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
RIA Novosti/Mikhail Klimentyev/Presidential Press Service/AP

The propaganda is part of a series of publicity shots aimed at making the ex-KGB agent look more masculine, per Fox News.

While Putin’s ratings remain high by Western standards, a poll published locally by the Public Opinion Foundation showed Putin slipping to 72 percent of the Russian vote from 76 percent in May, CNBC reports.