Russian president flexs muscles with TV chin-ups

2nd December 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev performed chin-ups on national television Thursday, flexing his muscles as he battles perceptions that his successor Vladmir Putin is the real strongman of Moscow.

"Come on, let me do a few chin-ups here," Medvedev told a small crowd of cheering students as he pulled off his jacket to reveal a tight-fitting v-neck sweater.

NTV television then showed the students counting in unison as Medvedev completed his fifth pull-up. He began to do a sixth before stopping and jumping back down.

The Krasnodar school visit in southern Russia came two days after Medvedev spent much of a closely-watched state-of-nation address outlining a future children's policy.

His performance in that speech was interpreted by much of the Russian and Western media as a further sign of weakness at a particularly difficult point in Medvedev's career.

Recently revealed US cables identified Putin, the former president who is now prime minister, as the real leader of Russia, describing Medvedev as "Robin" to the "Batman" premier.

Of the two leaders, Putin is usually the one to show off his physique whether by taking a swim in a river or riding bare-chested on a horse.

© 2010 AFP

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