London: Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is set to undertake a road trip across Russia’s far east in a Lada.
Putin, 57, has been creating an image of himself as a man of action, and he has been pictured fighting fires, shooting whales with a crossbow, piloting a fire-fighting plane, and riding a Harley-Davidson trike with a gang of leather-clad bikers.
Now he is making the journey by road to showcase the completion of the country’s first ever-continuous east to west road.
Putin was seen getting behind the wheel of a bright yellow Lada Kalina to drive from the far eastern city of Khabarovsk through a sparsely populated part of the country to Chita in Siberia.
Construction of the road was completed recently almost five decades after construction begun.
Putin, who was dressed in a casual polo shirt, said he was keen to test the new road, which he hailed as a “historic” moment in Russia’s history.
“Our country, the largest in the world, has never in its history – never – been completely joined up by highways. Finally we have done it,” the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
He also praised the quality of the Lada car he was driving, but admitted he would not be personally driving the vehicle for the entire journey and would sometimes travel in his convoy of expensive foreign-made Jeeps.