Vladimir Putin’s fishing expedition in Tyva lit up the Russian blogosphere over the weekend. There were lots of bromance jokes about Putin and Medvedev, and debates about the size of the fish Putin caught (conclusion: much smaller than the claimed 21kg).
But there was also an interesting post by Andrei Malgin on his LJ blog with the conspiracy theory that the fishing trip did not take place at all. And that the photos released were actually from a previous trip to Tyva in 2007. He notes that the Kremlin never noted Putin’s visit to Tyva on the dates he was allegedly there. Furthermore, the Kremlin press pool was not informed of the trip, nor were they present. Finally, the cutter Shoigu and Putin are in has an MChS (Emergencies Ministry) tag on it. This is important because Shoigu was the long-time Minister of the Emergencies Ministry until last year.
The evidence does not look good, but… here is the thing: we know Peskov lies. It is an open secret in Moscow. Someone once joked, “When Peskov lies, you know he is lying, and he knows that you know he is lying.” Frankly, I don’t think he can help himself. But there is a difference between lying in an interview about how much Putin’s pike weighed (and who really cares anyway?), and posting photos that are 6 years old and trying to pass them off as being only a week old. Why would you lie about something like that? What does it get you?
One commenter joked: “Maybe Putin has already died, and we don’t know it.”
Putin’s Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov denied on Sunday that the photos were from the 2007 trip.