'I see no need to hide behind the bushes': Putin defends shirtless photos of himself

Getty ImagesRussian President Vladimir Putin.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin defended the shirtless pictures of him on vacation that have taken the internet by storm in recent years, telling an Austrian journalist he has “no need to hide.”
  • “When I am on vacation I see no need to hide behind the bushes, and there is nothing wrong with that,” Putin said.
  • Putin seems unfazed by the memes and ridicule surrounding his shirtless photos.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended the shirtless pictures of himself on vacation that have taken the internet by storm in recent years, telling an Austrian journalist he has “no need to hide.”

Last year, the Kremlin released pictures of a shirtless Putin fishing in a Siberian lake and, an image of him riding a horse half-naked has been turned into countless memes. The Russian leader is apparently unfazed by all of this.

Armin Wolf, an Austrian reporter, recently asked Putin for more background on the “half-naked” photos, stating, “There are many photos of you half-naked, which is rather unusual for a head of state. These photos were not taken by paparazzi or tourists. They were published by the Kremlin. What is the story behind these photos?”

Putin responded, “You said ‘half-naked’ not ‘naked,’ thank God. When I am on vacation I see no need to hide behind the bushes, and there is nothing wrong with that.”

Putin gave a similar response to NBC’s Megyn Kelly in an interview several months ago. At the time, Kelly asked, “One of the images that we see of you in the United States is without the shirt on a horse. What is that about?”

The Russian leader replied, “You know, I have seen ‘photos’ of me riding a bear. I have not ridden a bear yet, but there are such photos already.”

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