RUSSIA
image

Vladimir Putin

President Putin causes blogging frenzy by catching giant pike

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 July, 2013, 2:47am

Russian bloggers took the bait when the Kremlin posted a video on its website of President Vladimir Putin landing a huge pike.

But it was the question of 'How big?' that set the internet buzzing and led to an avalanche of both humorous and sarcastic remarks.

Putin is known as someone who never misses an outdoor adventure photo opportunity.

And in the video, helped by a military assistant and dressed in a camouflage jacket and hat, he hooks the big fish.

As he tries to raise the pike, the aide says: "Vladimir Vladimirovich, be careful, she can bite."

But Putin replies: "I will bite her myself."

He then raises the pike, kisses it on the head and dumps it in a plastic container. "She is a beauty," the president adds.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who accompanied Putin on the fishing trip to southeast Siberia, estimated that the fish weighed between 12kg and 15kg. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted it weighed 21kg.

The response of the Russian blogosphere? No way.

Seasoned fishermen began feverishly posting images of their own pike catches, which looked dramatically bigger and weighed less than 21kg, they said.

"The Kremlin must have weighed the pike the way they count the votes," one observer wrote in a wry reference to complaints that presidential and parliamentary elections in Russia are manipulated. Many refused to believe that Putin caught the pike himself.

"I wonder what is the name of the diver who put this pike on the hook," one person commented.

In recent years, Putin has been photographed with a polar bear, a tiger and a snow leopard, shooting at a gray whale with a cross-bow and leading a flock of Siberian cranes in a glider.

Earlier this month, he was shown in a submersible vessel diving to the remains of a sunken 19th-century frigate.