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Spokesman: Putin's dive treasure find was staged

Oct. 6, 2011 - 15:09 By

MOSCOW (AP) _ The widely publicized incident in which Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin pulled up ancient Greek jug fragments from the seabed on a diving expedition was staged, his chief spokesman said.

The August dive in the Kerch Strait that connects the Black and Azov seas was reported extensively in Russian and overseas media. Putin is noted for his habit of appearing in vigorous and adventurous settings, including fishing while stripped to the waist and riding with leather-clad motorcyclists.

In video footage of the dive, Putin holds two fragments of what are said to be 6th century B.C. Greek jugs and says ``the boys and I found them'' in about six feet (two meters) of clear water.

But his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in an interview shown Tuesday on the Dozhd TV channel that the jugs had been found earlier by archaeologists and placed there for Putin.

``Look, Putin didn't find down there jugs that had lain there for many thousands of years. It's obvious,'' Peskov said in response to questions from the interviewers.

``Of course, they were found in the course of an expedition several weeks or days earlier. Of course, they were left there or placed there. It's completely normal. There's no reason to gloat about this and everything else,'' he said.

Peskov's comments were an unusually candid glimpse into the cultivation of Putin's image as a tough man of action.

Previous image-boosting appearances, which have shown Putin hunting, riding horseback and admiring a tranquilized polar bear, have contributed to his popularity, but have also prompted bitter comments on blogs and social media.

Peskov's rare interview with a television station that has been critical of the government could reflect authorities' concerns about a negative attitude to Putin's re-election bid among the nation's intellectuals and middle class.

Putin, who was president in 2000-2008, is almost certain to return to the Kremlin in next March's election. He and President Dmitry Medvedev announced last month they had agreed that Putin would run for the presidency and Medvedev would be named prime minister.



푸틴의 해저 유물발굴은 '쇼'

블라디미르 푸틴 러시아 총리가 지난여름 해저에서  고 대 유물을 건져 올리는 장면은 연출된 것이었다고 드미트리 페스코프 총리 공보실장 이 4일(현지시간) 실토했다.

푸틴 총리가 잠수복을 입고 러시아 서부의 흑해와 아조프해를 잇는 케르치 해협 에 뛰어들어 유물 항아리를 건져내는 영상은 지난 8월 러시아를 비롯한 전 세계에 대대적으로 보도됐다.

하지만 페스코프 실장은 한 러시아 TV 방송과 인터뷰에서 "푸틴이 수천 년 동안 바다 속에 잠자고 있던 항아리를 찾아낸 것은 아니다"면서 "수일, 또는 수주전에 탐 사팀에 참여한 고고학자들이 항아리를 발견한 뒤 푸틴을 위해 그 자리에 둔 것"이라 고 밝혔다.

당시 영상에서 푸틴은 수심 2m의 물속에서 기원전 6세기 고대 그리스의 것으로 추정되는 항아리 두 점을 들고 "그 친구들과 내가 찾아냈다"고 소리쳤다.

페스코프 실장의 이번 발언은 푸틴 총리의 '터프 가이' 이미지 구축 과정을  들 여다볼 수 있는 흔치않은 기회로 간주된다.

푸틴 총리는 그동안 사냥, 낚시, 오토바이, 북극곰 등의 이미지를 차용해  남성 미를 과시했으나 블로그나 소셜미디어에서는 이것이 신랄한 비판의 대상이 되고  있 다.

2000년부터 2008년까지 대통령을 연임한 푸틴 총리는 내년 3월 다시 출마하기로 한 대선에서 당선이 유력하다. 푸틴 총리와 드미트리 메드베데프 대통령은 지난달 '임무 교대'하기로 합의했다.