Vladimir Putin turned 63 on Wednesday, and he celebrated in a rather unorthodox manner: by partaking in an all-star hockey game with former NHL stars and Russian cabinet members.
The leader, famous for posing shirtless on horseback and in other unashamedly macho situations, played in a hockey game Wednesday night alongside former NHL stars.
As you'd expect, Putin's team won. And the man himself scored seven goals.
The President's teammates included former Vancouver Canucks player Pavel Bure, as well as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who earlier in the day had been briefing Putin on Russia's latest round of military strikes in Syria.
Despite his impressive scoring feats on the rink in the southern city of Sochi, Putin only "mastered" ice hockey in recent years, according to the Russian news agency Tass.
Putin scored seven goals in his team's 15-10 victory and was presented with a trophy afterwards, because, well, of course he was.
Putin is an extreme latecomer to hockey, as he began skating in 2010 in an effort to, in part, revive Russia's struggling hockey programs. (Russian lawmakers have also considered banning young stars from playing in the United States in an effort to prop up its domestic professional leagues.) Putin has proven to be a master of propaganda, and his latest foray into sport is no different.
Putin's athletic "accomplishments" are approaching a Kim Jong-il-level of absurd. While the man's dedication to patriotic photo ops is impressive, it's still somewhat head-scratching. Russia has a whole host of societal issues that need to be addressed before the leader of the country takes the ice with Pavel Bure.