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    Crimea: Putin's Adventure

    Images of Putin riding shirtless on a horse went viral and lent credibility to his man of action image.
    Putin's adventure riding bare-chested on horseback in the Tuva region. Previous Putin navigated migrating cranes in a hang glider and recently sailing in mini-submarine.  Russian president joined experts on a tour of an ancient shipwreck. Vladimir Putin paid a visit to researchers working in a submarine in the Black Sea on Tuesday while visiting Crimea. The experts escorted the Russian president to the wreckage of an 11th-century Byzantine galleon. He called the voyage "fascinating."

    The mini-submarine dove to a depth of more than 80 meters (262.5 feet) to inspect the vessel discovered in May, according to footage broadcast by Russian television. The ship is around 30 meters (98 feet) long. "This is considerable depth," the Russian president told Tass, the Russian news agency, after surfacing. He called the dive "a good way to remember how much our historical roots are deep, as the history of our relations with the whole world."

    Putin said the shipwreck was covered by 40 centimeters (15.75 inches) of silt, making it difficult to see. However, he found the boat to be in good condition. "It's a galleon that was transporting products across the Bay of Balaclava. There are few like this north of the Black Sea," he affirmed. Twitter users questioned the politician's motives, wondering if it was part of a plot. Others were eagerly awaiting such a moment from the 'action man'.

    A man of action 

    Putin and his team have worked tirelessly to cultivate a public image of the leader as a man of action. Orchestrated events such as driving a Formula 1 race car, hunting whales with a crossbow, flying a fighter jet and fishing a 21 kilogram (46 pound) pike have been critical to their formula for success.

    This also isn't Putin's first foray into underwater tourism. He made a similar dive into Lake Baikal, the world's deepest lake, in Siberia in 2009. A highly publicized activity in 2011 nearly tarnished Putin's carefully crafted persona. He allegedly found two 1,500-year-old amphorae while diving in the Black Sea. However, independent media questioned the authenticity of the photo op, as the amphorae weren't covered in algae and shells. His spokesperson Dmitry Peskov recognized the stunt was staged several months later.

    Diving in the Crimea territory 

    Russia claimed Crimea, then part of Ukraine, in 2014, a move that created a rift between Russia on one side and Europe and the US on the other. The EU and the US imposed sanctions on the top Russian brass, with Russia following suit on a ban on imported European food products. Since the annexation, violence has broken out between the Ukrainian military and pro-Russian rebel groups in eastern Ukraine. According to the United Nations, nearly 6,500 people have been killed in the conflict and almost 1.3 million people displaced. Russia has repeatedly denied the presence of its soldiers on Ukrainian soil, but vocally supports the separatist cause.

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