Putin takes a dive with Grecian urns
WHEN A scuba-diving Vladimir Putin found two ancient Greek urns on the floor of the Black Sea this week, it seemed a startling discovery.
In his latest spurt of televised heroics, the Russian prime minister raised a triumphant thumb as he circled the pair of amphorae in shallow waters off the Taman peninsula
.The find came to “everyone’s utter surprise”, claimed the devotional Russia Today. Once on dry land, Putin posed in his wetsuit with a jug in each hand.
But independent media are now ridiculing the incident, in a sign of increasing weariness of Putin’s macho photo ops – such as bare-chested fishing, piloting a “water bomber” over forest fires and diving in a minisubmarine.
Critics said Mt Putin’s pots were suspiciously unmossy and were probably planted specially for him to discover.
“Diving in the Taman gulf, the prime minister immediately found two amphorae that had been waiting for him since the 6th century AD at a depth of two metres,” wrote the Novaya Gazetanewspaper in an editorial dripping with sarcasm.
“He was lucky: in the same place, over the last two years archaeologists managed to find only a few pottery shards.”
Mr Putin’s visit was meant to highlight the work of Russian scientists exploring the remains of an ancient Greek city, Phanagoria, sometimes called “Russia’s Atlantis”.
Yet critics saw the dive as another stunt to boost Mr Putin’s image before elections in December and March.
“We have become witnesses of a remake of The Brilliant Handand the fishing scene at the white cliff,” said radio host Anton Orekh, referring to a scene from a Soviet film in which a diver attaches fish to an angler’s hook in order to simulate a plentiful catch.
– (Guardian service)