Russia: Putin planning for Antarctica trip in 2013


Russian President Vladimir Putin glares at a crane as he takes part in a scientific experiment as part of the 'Flight of Hope' on on Sept. 5, 2012. The project will help preserve a rare species of cranes in the Jamalo-Nentsky region. Putin made three flights - the first to learn the process, and two others with the birds.


Alexey Druzhinin

If you’d shot a Siberian tiger, speared a gray whale with a crossbow, explored Lake Baikal by submarine and earned a 6th degree black belt in Judo like Russian President Vladimir Putin, no one would blame you for wanting to put your feet up for a bit. But the 60-year-old Russian leader is not slowing down.

Putin has planned a series of “active hobbies” for 2013, including a visit to Chilean and Russian science bases in Antarctica and a possible ice-hockey match against a world leader or two, sources told Russian newspaper Izvestia, according to the Moscow Times.

"Vladimir Putin will continue his active hobbies,” Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Izvestia, the Moscow Times reported. “Maybe he will go scuba diving in the summer. He continues the fight to preserve endangered species."

Last fall, Putin was rumored to have been injured when he guided some endangered cranes to a new habitat using a motorized hang glider. He later postponed several trips and public events.

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But in spite of injuries, Putin does not seem willing to give up his alpha-male ways and project a more mature image.

"At the beginning of his new term there was a lot of talk about how Putin might now be positioned [in the media], because of his age, as a wise man sitting in his study and handing down advice," Leonid Polyakov, a political scientist with the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, told the Christian Science Monitor. "Then Putin had a spinal trauma during a training session, and his spokesman confirmed that."

"His response to that appears to be that he is definitely not going to become the old man in the Kremlin," Polyakov said. "I'm absolutely sure we're going to see more of Putin on horseback, jumping by parachute, taming tigers, and so on.”