“It’s great, there are lots of objects, amphorae scattered around,” Putin told Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev after the dive, as the Associated Press reported. He added: “Big hug!”
Vladimir Putin: His many feats of strength
This was no modest trip beneath the waves, but a mission more than 270 feet down into the heart of Davy Jones’s locker.
“Eighty-three meters [272 feet] is a pretty substantial depth,” Putin said after the dive, as Agence France-Presse reported. “It was interesting.”
Although Putin’s he-man stunts might seem ridiculous in the West, they’re quite popular domestically in Russia. Voters — almost 90 percent of them, according to AFP — like having a virile president, particularly those with Soviet memories of a wheezing series of leaders who lasted from the mid-1960s until the mid-’80s. Sure, Nikita Khrushchev may have banged shoes and put Sputnik in orbit, but did he blithely descend into the briny deep in a territory he recently occupied just to play Indiana Jones — as, not incidentally, the world worries about Russian submarines and Cold War aggression in Northern Europe?
“It is a galleon that was transporting civilian cargo through the bay of Balaclava,” Putin said. “It is still to be investigated by experts. I have to say that there are not that many similar remains like this in the north of the Black Sea.”
Watch Putin descend:
Michael Birnbaum contributed to this report.