Vladimir Putin, the former KGB man-turned-Russian-president, is renowned for his love of testosterone-fueled photo ops. Common it is for Russian news to carry video of Putin shooting tigers with a tranquilizer gun, going shirtless while riding a horse, or swimming in a rough Siberian river.
(Imagine any of the recent U.S. presidents — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama — showing off their presidential pecs while riding a horse in sight of newsmen.)
Thursday, Putin added glider pilot and environmentalist to his many accomplishments. With the help of scientists, Putin flew a one-man glider in hopes of enticing a flock of captive-raised red cranes to begin their winter migration.
Great news! It worked. On Putin’s third attempt, five cranes fell in line with his glider and began their journey.
We have a suggestion for the Russian president’s next escapade: Leading a nationwide march for freedom from oppression in his country. Saving cranes is one thing; human rights are another.