The 2019 Putin VVP calendar, so-named for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s initials, has hit the stands. This year’s take on the annual diary revives portrayals of the Russian president as a consummate diplomat and outdoorsman, suggesting that Putin, 65, is a president for all seasons.
The calendar kicks off January with an image of a bare-chested Putin dipping into the icy waters of Lake Seliger to observe the Russian Orthodox Epiphany, according to the Guardian. Putin’s image as an avid sportsman is also on display throughout the year, with photos of him wielding a shooting range pistol, playing hockey, horseback riding and cycling along a wooded road.
Subsequent months aim at showcasing the president’s softer side, with Putin holding a Bulgarian shepherd dog in one shot, and cuddling a leopard cub in another.
Putin talks about his “Miracle Cross” and his religious faith.
“I was surprised completely when one of the workers, just muddling through those ashes of the remnants, found that cross intact and that was a surprise, a miracle, and therefore I always now keep the cross with me.” Vladimir Putin
. . . KING: There is much talk about Vladimir Putin and religious faith. I’m told that you wear a cross. Is that true? Are you religious? What are your feelings in this area?
PUTIN (through translator): I prefer — I would prefer not to develop on that subject in detail. I think such things are sacred for everybody. Everybody’s belief is not to be shown off, it’s inside a man’s heart. As regards to wearing cross, earlier I never had it — once my mother gave it to me and when I visited Israel. I was there two times. First on an official invitation of the minister of foreign affairs of that country. The second time, I liked the country, and I traveled there with my family as a tourist.
So my mother gave it to me to have a blessing there at the Tomb of Lord. I did so and now it’s with me always.
Prior to entering the sauna, I took off the cross before entering the sauna, and then with my friend, we jumped out naked, since it was so unexpected. And I cherish that cross very much, it was my mother’s cross, and the fire was really in earnest at the time. So I was thinking about whether perhaps it could get even remnants of it, it was an aluminum-made cross, a very simple thing.