Putin puts on birthday show

Central Station | 8 Oct 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin is renowned for posing for high-octane photo opportunities like tiger-tracking or deep-water diving.

But to celebrate his birthday yesterday, the long-term leader was seen enjoying some of Russia's more peaceful wildlife.

Putin, who has turned 67, spent a mini-break in mountains above the Yenisei River in Siberia at the weekend foraging for wild mushrooms with defense minister Sergei Shoigu.

They were shown picking and sniffing mushrooms.

In video footage, he sounded breathless as he said: "We have climbed up above the clouds," at a height of almost 2,000 meters above sea level.

Putin took the wheel of an all-terrain vehicle through the forest and the pair also hitched a helicopter ride.

In previous action-man escapades he has tagged a beluga whale and flown with migrating cranes in a microlight.

Russians are devotees of the "quiet hunt" for mushrooms, which are now in season. The pursuit is celebrated in Russian literature including Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

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