Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 17 October 2019

Vladimir Putin forages for mushrooms on birthday wilderness walk

Russians are devotees of the 'quiet hunt' for mushrooms, a pursuit celebrated in Russian literature including Leo Tolstoy's 'Anna Karenina'

Russian President Vladimir Putin is renowned for posing for high-octane photo opportunities like tiger tracking or deep-water diving.

But in images released to celebrate his birthday on Monday, the long-term leader was seen enjoying some of Russia's more peaceful wildlife.

Mr Putin, who turned 67, spent a mini-break in mountains above the Yenisei River in Siberia at the weekend foraging for wild mushrooms with his defence minister Sergei Shoigu.

In video footage released by the Kremlin, Mr Putin and Mr Shoigu were shown picking and sniffing mushrooms.

The president was walking in an area of natural beauty in southern Siberia.

"We have climbed up above the clouds," he said, speaking at almost 2,000 metres above sea level.

Mr Putin took the wheel of an all-terrain vehicle through the forest and the pair also hitched a helicopter ride.

Previously Mr Putin has tagged a beluga whale and flown with migrating cranes in a microlight.

As a nation, Russians are devotees of the "quiet hunt" for mushrooms, which are now in season. The pursuit is celebrated in Russian literature including Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.

Updated: October 8, 2019 11:23 AM

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