Moscow: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev
performed chin-ups on national television on Thursday, flexing his
muscles as he battles perceptions that his successor Vladmir
Putin is the real strongman of Moscow.
"Come on, let me do a few chin-ups here," Medvedev told
a small crowd of cheering students as he pulled off his jacket
to reveal a tight-fitting v-neck sweater.
NTV television then showed the students counting in
unison as Medvedev completed his fifth pull-up.
He began to do a sixth before stopping and jumping back down.
The Krasnodar school visit in southern Russia came two
days after Medvedev spent much of a closely-watched
state-of-nation address outlining a future children`s policy.
His performance in that speech was interpreted by much
of the Russian and Western media as a further sign of weakness
at a particularly difficult point in Medvedev`s career.
Recently revealed US cables identified Putin, the former
president who is now prime minister, as the real leader of
Russia, describing Medvedev as "Robin" to the "Batman"
Of the two leaders, Putin is usually the one to show off
his physique whether by taking a swim in a river or riding
bare-chested on a horse.