A few notes before we begin our journey:
- Vladimir Putin is the king of Getty Images.
- His entire archive is filled with blatantly staged propaganda pictures intended to do everything from make him look like a strong and virile leader (see shirtless photo with horse, above) to humanize him by having him pose with a never-ending supply of adorable animals (see shirtless photo with horse, above, again).
- There are also candid photos of him making silly faces, and a bunch of him with Steven Seagal, because they are, I swear to God, friends. It is a really, really good Getty archive.
- In addition to being the King of Getty Images, Vladimir Putin is many other things, too — President of Russia, former KGB officer, authoritarian leader who jails his enemies, repeated violator of Russian citizens’ human rights, and so on. None of this is intended to make light of any that. We’re just having a little funsies, is all.
And away we go.
Pictures of Vladimir Putin with animals
Best parts of this picture:
1) Vladimir Putin made a professional photographer come out in the snow to take a picture of him playing with his dogs, not for a Christmas card (even though this really looks like a Christmas card), but to share with the world that, hey, he’s just a nice guy who loves his dogs. No, don’t read those newspapers over there. Look at the doggies! THE DOGGIES!
2) As we learn in the official Getty caption, these dogs were gifts from the Bulgarian president and Japanese Prime Minister, which would seem to imply that if you are powerful enough, other powerful people will give you dogs. This is an important lesson for you aspiring politicians out there.
There is context for this picture, I promise. It has to do with a science experiment to save a rare species of crane. But I cannot recommend strongly enough that you disregard said context and just take it at face value. Email it to a friend with an empty subject line and no description. Spread the joy.
I know — like, I’m almost sure — that Vladimir Putin is playing badminton against a human here, and one of his dogs has just wandered onto the court. But what I choose to believe is that Vladimir Putin AND his dog are playing doubles badminton against a second human/dog team, possibly to practice for an event he was trying to sneak into the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
I want to blockquote the entire Getty description, for reasons that will become clear in a moment.
In this handout photo provided by the G20 Australia, Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin meet Jimbelung the koala before the start of the first G20 meeting on November 15, 2014 in Brisbane, Australia. World leaders have gathered in Brisbane for the annual G20 Summit and are expected to discuss economic growth, free trade and climate change as well as pressing issues including the situation in Ukraine and the Ebola crisis.
Were… were they trying to butter up Vladimir Putin before discussing Ukraine by letting him play with a koala? Because if they were, that is a little genius.
“You know who is really upset about this situation, Vladimir?”
“Jimbelung the koala.”
Vladimir Putin feeding a baby moose with a bottle. Bet you didn’t expect to see that when you woke up today, huh? The world is full of little miracles.
WHY IS THAT DOG SO SAD?
Pictures of Vladimir Putin looking like a straight-up supervillain
Here’s a question: Have you ever, in your entire life, seen someone look so unimpressed while riding in a submarine? And not just any submarine, either. A spherical, futuristic, glass-fronted submersible! Dude is basically riding around the sea looking like he’s in a spy movie, and he has the facial expression of an angsty teen on a field trip.
MOM: What did you do on the field trip, hun?
ANGSTY TEEN PUTIN: Nothing.
MOM: Mrs. Smirnoff says you got to ride in the futuristic submersible. How was that?
ANGSTY TEEN PUTIN: [sighs] Fine.
Vladimir Putin smirking and sneakily staring at you through the leaves of a tree as you walk through the park… not ominous at all.
This looks like the shot in a movie where the hero looks up and realizes his secret rendezvous with an enemy agent was actual a double cross, and he’s been led straight into the villain’s trap. It is immediately followed by a foot chase through the park and a dramatic car chase through the streets of Prague while techno music plays.
This picture is:
(a) Vladimir Putin aiming at a whale with an arbalest to take a piece of its skin for analysis by marine biologists
(b) Vladimir Putin trying to shoot at the gas tank of James Bond’s speedboat as he attempts to escape the island prison where he had been held captive
(c) A perfectly normal thing for the president of a country to do
(d) A and C
(e) B and C
If the stereo in this Harley isn’t blasting either “Bad to the Bone” or “Highway to Hell,” I swear to God I will eat my laptop. The whole thing. No condiments.
Pictures of Vladimir Putin making funny faces with only “lol” provided as analysis
Miscellaneous proof of virility
Okay, it’s not just the thing that 63-year-old Vladimir Putin has apparently won so many hockey trophies in this picture that he had to enlist two attractive young women to help him hold them. It’s definitely that, but not just that. Because it’s also the thing where this picture was taken at the hockey birthday party he threw himself, which was attended by NHL stars and “several oligarchs currently facing U.S. sanctions for their role in Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine,” and during which he “scored” seven goals. And gave himself a trophy! Two trophies, in fact!
Lot going on here, is my point.
Official Getty description:
Russian President Vladimir Putin in judo gear struggles against 10-year-old Japanese schoolgirl Natsumi Gomi on tatami mat as he visits Kodokan judo hall September 5, 2000 in Tokyo. Putin, who has a black belt in the sport, was thrown over her shoulder onto the mat.
Really don’t have much to add here. I just like the picture. It looks like he’s at some sort of L.L. Bean Model Fantasy Camp, like the outdoorsy fashion version of those baseball camps aging millionaires go to where retired ballplayers with tax problems take a check to hit them grounders for an hour.
“What? Oh, hello. I didn’t see you standing there with that camera. I — me, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia! — was just walking along this river shirtless. Truly fascinating to run into you here. … What? You’d like to take my picture? Well sure! But one condition, okay? You have to catch me in a position so I look like that old Strutting Leo meme from a few years ago. You can do that? Huzzah!”
I would, no joke, pay up to $3.99 for a clean, crisp MP3 of the entire conversation Steven Seagal and Vladimir Putin are having here. I’ll go higher if you promise me Seagal explains the entire plot of the movie Exit Wounds to him, because Exit Wounds is a Steven Seagal movie where DMX plays a billionaire computer expert who goes undercover as a drug dealer to avenge his brother’s death. I’m talking $30, easy.