Sounds fishy: Putin's recent adventure doubted

    8:30 AM, Jul 31, 2013   |    comments
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    LONDON, UK (CBS) -- Russian president Vladimir Putin is no stranger to controversy. But he's facing a backlash on several fronts this morning starting with a fishing expedition.

    Here's renowned outdoorsman Vladimir Putin, proudly hauling in his latest catch and landing one right on the kisser. Not just any fish, a 46 pound pike.

    Within hours of the Kremlin releasing the video people were mocking the president, saying the story sounded more than a little fishy. Not only did they doubt the size of the whopper, they wondered whether the whole thing was staged for people to swallow hook, line and sinker.

    Not this time. Showing off macho pursuits has been the go-to method for boosting Putin's manly image.

    But after 13 years in power, of bare-chested horse riding and doped up tigers petting antics and such, a weary Russian public has apparently had enough.

    Putin's credibility issues go beyond fish tales. The unprecedented massive anti-Putin demonstrations over corruption and dubious parliamentary election results came as a shock, says James Nixey of British Think Tank Chatham House. He says, "Protest is a significant development in Russia. It hadn't happened before, except in very mild terms."

    Passing laws like banning criticism of the church, justifying the arrest of the protest band Pussy Riot, and laying down sweeping anti-gay laws, are all actually designed to boost Putin's popularity at home.

    Nixey says, "The fact of the matter is, is that Russia is a more homophobic country than most countries in the west. This is a controversial decision almost anywhere, in the UK, in the U.S. for example, absolutely. But in Russia, it's supported by 98, 99% of the population."

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