[PHOTOS] That Bizarre Moment When Putin Was Turned Into Hercules For His Birthday
Already been featured in our Random Wednesday column previously, Russian President Vladimir Putin is a man of many talents. He is what you would call a 'Renaissance Man'.
So, to commemorate this legend of a man's birthday on 7 October 2014, admirers and citizens of Russia put together a whole exhibition comparing him to the Greek mythical hero 'Hercules'
Nope, it's no joke! Titled The 12 Labours of Putin, the exhibit was held on Monday by members of a pro-Putin Facebook group in Moscow's "Red October" showspace, formerly the site of a chocolate factory by the same name. Putin turned 62 on Tuesday.
"Twelve labours of Putin" exhibition in Moscow on Russian president's birthday eve pic.twitter.com/WNECCG7Mpk— Feldman (@EvgenyFeldman) October 6, 2014
"Interestingly, the events of the ancient legends about the mythological hero Hercules can be relayed onto our days, when the three-headed dog Cerberus reminds us of the USA, annihilation of the Stymphalian Birds — of stopping the air raids in Syria and the cleaning of the Augean stables is fighting corruption," the organizers wrote on Facebook, apparently in earnest.nymag.com
The organizer at the event itself appeared to be a young, bearded man named Mikhail Antonov, whose T-shirt was almost obscured by his blazer. Almost, but not quite — it appeared to read "Vladimir Putin" and have a thumbs-up sign underneath.nymag.com
куратор выставки о подвигах Путина pic.twitter.com/uzoQT4pfgk— Feldman (@EvgenyFeldman) October 6, 2014
He said that members of the Facebook group often sent in artwork depicting the president, and they decided to do a thematic show for the leader's birthday.nymag.com
1. Fight against terrorism (Nemean Lion)
The original 12 Labours of Hercules were acts of penance and toil performed by the Greek hero. To mark Vladimir Putin's 62nd birthday, Hercules' tasks have been given a Russian makeover. Mythical monsters have been replaced by modern monstrosities such as terrorism.bbc.com
2. Response to sanctions (Lernaean hydra)
Mr Putin grapples with the multi-headed hydra... of Western sanctions. The EU, US, Canada and Japan imposed sanctions after accusing Russia of supplying separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine with heavy weapons and soldiers - an accusation Russia denies.bbc.com
3. The Sochi Olympics (Ceryneian Hind)
4. Liquidation of the oligarchs (Erymanthian Boar)
5. Fight against corruption (Augean stables)
6. Stopping air strikes on Syria (Stymphalian Birds)
Putin is depicted stopping Western intervention in Syria - a reference to Russia's veto at a UN Security Council vote in 2012. Putin spoke out for his friend Bashar al-Assad, warning the U.S. and allies not to launch strikes into Syria without the dictator's consent.bbc.com
7. Contract for French Mistral warships (Mares of Diomedes)
8. Annexing Crimea (Cretan Bull)
9. South Stream gas pipeline (Belt of Hippolyta)
10. Gas contract with China (Cattle of Geryon)
11. Support for the Minsk agreement for a cease-fire in Ukraine (Apples of the Hesperides)
As seen here, backing peace in Ukraine, Mr Putin is painted as a strong leader by the group. "We the people have trusted the leaders of Russia: the tsars, the emperors, or general secretaries of the Communist party," Mr Antonov told the BBC. "Vladimir Putin continues that tradition. He is a hero of the people."bbc.com
12. Conflict with the U.S. (Cerberus)
Putin as Hercules exhibit. Cerberus=USA. "Eurasian Union created by Putin will end unipolar world & kill Cerberus" pic.twitter.com/cAWaQWTSvD— Alec Luhn (@ASLuhn) October 6, 2014
In the final labour, Mr Putin is depicted as doing battle with his nemesis - the United States. With a domestic approval rating exceeding 80%, Vladimir Putin is currently enjoying the kind of popularity that Western politicians, maybe even Hercules himself, could only dream of.bbc.com
In this video of the exhibit put out by Grani.ru, a Russian-language news site, a young woman identified as Yevgeniya, a student, praises the event. "We love him and support him in everything," she said of Putin. "That's why we're here."