In a feat of man over nature, president over fish, the 60-year-old Russian leader has bested a pike.
And not just any pike. This was a big pike in the wilds of Siberia, weighing 45 pounds, according to the Kremlin.
Now that's big, even by Siberian standards. So big, in fact, that some skeptics are saying there's just no way. Not even Putin could catch a fish that big.
According to the Telegraph:
Within hours, online satirists were questioning whether the incident was staged and whether the pike was really as big as the Kremlin said.
"Wonder who planted that fish for Putin to catch," said a caption placed under two online pictures, one of Putin holding the fish and the other showing Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev emerging from a river in a wetsuit with a satisfied look.
According to AFP:
Blogger and author Alfred Kokh calculated the length, diameter and volume of the fish and said it could only have weighed "10-11 kilograms" and not the 21 kg as claimed by the Kremlin.
Pro-opposition journalist Oleg Kashin told AFP that a fish with the density of a 21-kilo pike would simply have sunk to the bottom of the lake.
"A pike that heavy just could not swim," Kashin wrote on Twitter. "She would sink to the bottom! In fact this pike was made from granite."
But the Kremlin is not backing down:
"I personally saw the scales and was present in the weighing. It was seriously more than 20kg [44lb]," Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told Interfax news agency.