RUSSIAN strongman Vladimir Putin is featured in new images showing him in the wilds of Siberia — amid fears over health after his inner circle caught covid.
The action man-style videos showing the president hunting bears and fishing are understood to have been released around two-and-a-half weeks after they were filmed.
Putin is currently "self-isolating" because of a Covid-19 "outbreak" in his entourage.
He is seen with his loyal defence minister on a 72-hour camping trip in the taiga, believed to be the Sayano-Shushensky Nature Reserve in Khakassia.
Footage shows Shoigu pointing out a bear’s den where a beast had been "sleeping".
Putin is also seen driving an off-road vehicle, steering a boat on a Siberian river, fishing pike, and walking through mountains.
The Kremlin leader also admitted he was nearly knocked over as he drove past galloping red maral deers.
He said: "Huge marals — I haven't seen anything like that.
"Good thing they didn't hit us, they nearly did. And at such a high speed."
Footage also revealed the inside of Putin’s tent with a simple camping bed.
Shoigu teased the Russian leader over a mock fireplace — but Putin said “you shouldn’t laugh” because the infrared heater, while not a proper hearth, still warmed his tent.
He was also pictured sitting beside a proper campfire — as he is accused of limiting gas supplies to Europe this winter.
Putin was also shown footage of snow leopard cubs and also a gruesome kill by a brown bear snatching an ibex kid.
ELECTION FRAUD ALLEGATIONS
His Siberia jaunt was early this month, but the first footage only appeared today in Moscow.
It follows a parliamentary election hailed as free and fair by the Kremlin, but Communists took to the streets this weekend to claim vast vote-rigging.
Independent election analyst Sergei Shpilkin alleged fraud led to 14 million votes being added to the pro-Putin United Russia vote.
The footage and pictures are also released as Putin is reportedly self-isolating due to a mass outbreak of Covid-19 in his entourage.
One Putin health-watcher, political analyst Valery Solovei, claimed last week on Echo Moscow radio that Putin “needs to undergo surgery”.
He said: "Either he has already had it done, or he will tonight."
Yet Putin was seen on TV talking by videoconference to parliamentary party leaders on Saturday.
Solovei and a Telegram channel linked to him and an unnamed disaffected former Lt-General with reported connections in the Kremlin elite have previously alleged that Putin has a major health problem that has been hidden from Russians.
Sociologist Olga Kryshtanovskaya, an observer of ruling circles in Russia claimed that a transition of power is gradually underway although the identity of Putin’s successor was not known.
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