… it might look something like this:
Yes, that is Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, dressed up like a crane and flying a hang-glider to lead Siberian cranes on a preferred migratory path to Asia. Putin, of course, has a history of macho stunts/photo ops, many of which are laid out in this fantastic photo gallery at The Atlantic that I am sure I have referenced before on this blog.
The NY Times notes that:
It seemed last year that Mr. Putin’s stunts had begun to fall flat. To the young sophisticates who dominate Russia’s Internet, they looked stiff and fake, a throwback to the days when the vast apparatus of Soviet propaganda worked to glorify one man. Mr. Putin steered clear of them for the tense months around his election, but this project suggests a return of confidence.
And while I will certainly not claim flying a hang-glider is easy, perhaps dressing up like a bird in heralds the coming of a softer, gentler Putin in his third. I mean it is certainly a bit less threatening than this:
As an aside, one of my father’s oldest friends, Dr. Robert H. Horwich, developed the technique of dressing up like a crane as part of an effort to allow them to be raised in captivity and then reintroduced into the wild. There is an 1989 article in the journal Zoo Biology that describes the technique, and here is a picture of Robbie in his crane costume from sometime in the mid 80s: