Russian president, and apparently, fake outdoorsman, Vladimir Putin now admits what many suspected: most of his manly feats of strength and virility have been carefully staged media events.

From this story in the New York Daily News:
Russian President Vladimir Putin has admitted that some of his most famous media adventures with wildlife have been carefully staged but has said they were worthwhile because they drew the public’s attention to important conservation projects. His macho appearances with everything from tigers to whales have been a staple of Russian state TV for years, cementing his image as a man of action but drawing mockery from critics who have likened them to Soviet-style propaganda. Although Putin’s spokesman has previously revealed that at least one of the stunts was a set-up, Putin until now has appeared to play along with the exercises, allowing state media to present them as they seem rather than how they really are.

But here’s the kicker: according to the story, Putin is shocked and enraged!

From the story:

But in a rare meeting with a Kremlin critic after his latest wildlife stunt – taking to the skies in a light aircraft with a group of cranes last week – Putin admitted he had often taken part in media exercises which were carefully staged. Sometimes, he said the stunts had been over the top. “Of course, there are excesses. And I am enraged about it,” he told Masha Gessen, a journalist and Putin critic whom he had invited for a meeting in the Kremlin after she was sacked from her job editing a travel magazine for refusing to send reporters to cover the crane flight.

But Putin also says in the story that despite the obvious fakery of most of his manly feats–including but not limited to a staged incident with a tiger that Putin tranquilized before it could “attack,” a staged incident where Putin allegedly caught and tagged a rare wild snow leopard that had been borrowed from a zoo, and a staged incident where Putin made “discoveries” while diving in the Black Sea–it was all for a good cause.