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.
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.
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.