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Putin tours shipwreck in mini submarine

Russian President Vladimir Putin took to a red submersible on Monday to dive 50 meters and examine the wreck of a 19th century frigate, his latest stunt in 13 years of power to assert his carefully crafted action man image. Putin, a 60-year-old former KGB spy more than a year into his third presidential term, is eager to boost his populist appeal to make up for the support lost among Russians following the largest wave of street protests against his rule in 2011-12. In the past he has submerged in Russia's Lake Baikal, extinguished forest fires and hopped on massive racing trucks. He resurfaced smiling after some 20 minutes in the Gulf of Finland and praised the work of the Russian Geographic Society, which has been studying the sunken vessel, for honoring the memory of Russian sailors who perished in the sea, including during World War Two.

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