(MOSCOW) — Vladimir Putin had another choice photo opportunity recently, and this time he’s showing his playful side.
In a series of photos taken on March 24 but released on Wednesday, the Russian president is seen frolicking in a snowy field with his beloved dogs, Buffy and Yume. The shots were snapped by Putin’s personal photographer at his residence, Novo-Ogariovo, outside Moscow.
The dogs were gifts from Bulgaria and Japan. Putin’s beloved black lab didn’t participate, according to a Kremlin spokesman, because of her advanced age. Both pups are relatively new to the public eye.
The Japanese Akita Inu pup is named Yume, and was a gift from Japan’s Akita prefectural administration. The Karakachan (Bulgarian Shepherd) named Buffy was a gift from former Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov.
The release of the photos this week was perhaps an effort to change the subject, as Putin has been embroiled in a number of controversies of late. The 60-year-old was attacked by topless feminist protestors during a visit to Germany a few days ago, and Russia’s non-governmental organizations Thursday demanded he prove they received nearly $1 billion from foreign sponsors.
Alexey Navalny, one of Russia’s most prominent opposition leaders, also made claims this week that Putin has “undoubtedly” ordered an embezzlement trial against him.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Susan Scutti, CNN
Andreas Preuss, CNN