Where in the world is Vladimir Putin…’s shirt?

The Russian president-turned-prime minister really doesn’t like covering his upper body. Vladimir Putin has been pushing his manliness upon the Russian people for years by starring in instructional judo videos and baring his bulging pecs every time he goes fishing. But a few weeks ago, he took it to the next level by posing for a series of outdoorsy, athletic photos and proving that there is indeed a direct correlation between shirtlessness and manliness.

The UK’s Daily Telegraph probably covered it best in an article titled “Vladimir Putin in more ‘action man’ photographs.” The article comes complete with video footage of Putin engaging in such action-packed and manly activities as: swimming (shirtless!)…

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin swims in the Black Sea while installing gasline piping in Turkish waters

The butterfly stroke or synchronized swimming?

…riding a horse (shirtless!)…

Pasty and pectacular!

Pasty and pectacular!

…fishing (shirtless!)…


…and dining with what looks to be a Siberian peasant woman. (Both are fully clothed, for some reason.) Sorry, I’ve not got a picture of that last one.

Will Vlad pass his athleticism and dislike of shirts on to other world leaders? Well, it seems that Sarkozy’s already been there, done that, and has even gone so far as to have his love handles airbrushed away; Obama’s gone that route and managed to create a pre-election stir; and the American first lady is already having issues with baring even her lower thighs — a bikini top, let alone shirtlessness, would most likely be met with disapproval. So who’s next? Kim Jong-Il? Fidel? Al-Qadhafi? According to The Economist (August 15th-21st issue), it might just be Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

“Mr. Putin and Mr. Erdogan get on well. Both are macho, sporty and prone to authoritarian instincts.” (p. 48)

And soon, if we’re lucky, they might both be shirtless.


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The Beginning

I was going to wait to start this until I could get a nice blog going under the domain name http://www.elysefranko.com. But the name is currently being held hostage by the URL gods and there’s so much crazy stuff going on right now that I figured it wouldn’t be right to make the world wait another second to hear what I have to say. Since this is my personal blog, it doesn’t really have much of a theme or trajectory, so writing an introduction seems rather pointless. Regardless, here are a few things you will almost certainly read about here at one time or another:

  • International politics
  • U.S. politics
  • Travel
  • National Public Radio
  • The media
  • Funny things I see in the street
  • Barack Obama
  • Photography
  • Turkey (the country, not the bird — though this isn’t to say that turkeys of the fowl persuasion won’t make an appearance!)
  • Grammar
  • Nostalgia
  • My love-hate relationship with social networking
  • The disastrous economic situation and its effect on my finding a job
  • Health care
  • Long Island
  • Shirtless Vladimir Putin

Comments are welcome; spam is not. Enjoy!

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Filed under About This Blog