So maybe a shirtless Vladimir Putin is a safer bet.
Not bad for 54, I think. (Hell, there are twenty-somethings that don’t look that good shirtless.) And I’m not the only one who thinks so. (And, yes, that may be another shameless, albeit belated, ploy for search engine traffic, given the buzz over those photos.
And one week on, the ripples are still being felt in Russia, where he has become a sex symbol, the inspiration for men to start pumping iron, and the new darling of the gay lobby.
… Russian gay chatrooms and blogs were particularly intrigued by the photos.
Some claimed that Mr Putin, by stripping to his trained waist, was pleading for more tolerance of homosexuality in Russia – where gays and lesbians are for the most part forced to remain closeted.
One satirical photo circulating on the Internet jokingly compared the fishing and riding adventure with the movie Brokeback Mountain, a love story about gay cowboys.
The 54-year-old leader, who is married with two daughters, has long cultivated an image of machismo.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN INTERNATIONAL U.S. AFFAIRS EDITOR: …And, then the ultimate question: Why Litvinenko, and why now? There were a lot of people who obviously wanted to kill him. He had a lot of information. You know, back when he was a KGB officer, his specialty was corruption. He was looking into corruption. So, he probably had the goods on a number of people. And I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who would want him dead.
DOUGHERTY: So, it’s — you know, where do you go?
DOUGHERTY: There are a lot of people.
ZAHN: … including reports, Nikolas, that would suggest that people wouldn’t be surprised if Vladimir Putin wouldn’t want him dead, after he went public with allegations that Mr. Putin was having sex with men.
GVOSDEV: Yes. I mean, that’s certainly been put forward as — as one of the theories.
Anyway, however hot Vlad (“The Impaler”? No, I couldn’t resist) is or isn’t, people he doesn’t like have a nasty habit of turning up dead, and I got over my attraction to “dangerous” guys a long time ago. Besides, I’ve also learned the hard way about politicians who sidestep and equivocate on gay issues (when they might be gay themselves).
Russian President Vladimir Putin carefully sidestepped questions Thursday about Moscow’s mayor branding gay pride parades as “Satanic”.
Putin said he made it a policy not to interfere in local politics, and said he supported all minorities in Russia, but then suggested he supported banning gay events saying sexual minorities were linked to a declining birth rate in Russia.
Over the past decade Russia has seen its population decline by about 700,000 a year. Last year in an effort to curb the decline he signed legislation that gives Russian families about $10,000 for every child they have after the first.