The Kremlin has released photos of Russian President Vladimir Putin enjoyed an action-packed weekend in a Siberian nature reserve.
In the photos, a relaxed-looking Mr Putin, accompanied by top Kremlin officials, is shown exploring the mountains and forests of the Republic of Tyva in Southern Siberia.
The Kremlin said he took a break on his way to the Siberian city of Kemerovo, a coal mining hub, to meet government officials and managers of energy companies on Monday.
“The President … decided to fly out earlier and spend Saturday and Sunday in Tuva, on the Yenisei River,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
“He walked in the mountains, admired the beautiful views.”
Mr Putin was joined by Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, the director of Russia’s Federal Security Service, Aleksander Bortnikov, and local officials on the weekend sojourn to the Sayano-Shushensky Reserve.
Mr Putin, 65, has something of a reputation for showing off his bare chest while on vacation. Previous shots of him on holiday have included images of him fishing and sunbathing shirtless, apparently intended to demonstrate his robust physical health and vigour.
One summer, the President dived in the Black Sea only to allegedly discover an ancient amphora. Another time he galloped on a horse bare-chested across a mountain creek.
In these most recent shots, he remains fully clothed – clad in khaki outfits and hats and often carrying binoculars.
A video also shows the President trekking with Nordic walking poles, inspecting the soil, relaxing on a boat on the Yenisei River, looking pensively across the landscape and surveying native wildlife grazing on the mountainside.
Mr Putin has holidayed in the area previously. Last year he went spear-fishing and hiking there in the Taiga. This year, however, there was no traditional fishing – Mr Peskov said the trip was purely about “admiring the beauty of nature”.
The reserve is part of UNESCO’s international system of biosphere reserves and has an array of flora and fauna. The area is home to more than 100 species of animals, including snow leopard, moose and reindeer.
Earlier in August, Mr Putin danced arm-in-arm with Austria’s Foreign Minister, Karin Kneissl, at her wedding. He arrived at the August 18 ceremony carrying flowers and accompanied by Cossack singers booked to serenade the newlyweds.
His attendance at the wedding – on his way to talks in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Markel – was a shock in Moscow and Vienna.
Mr Peskov told Russian news agencies that Mr Putin spent about an hour there, and guests appreciated the performance of the Cossack choir.