While Obama on vacation travels in a 20 armored car convoy. Putin’s driving himself cross country.
He has been pictured fighting fires, shooting whales with a crossbow and piloting a fire fighting plane
His latest endeavour is a slight departure from his usual macho pursuits.
The Russian Prime Minister is undertaking a 1,300-mile road trip across Russia’s far east in a humble Lada.
His journey is designed to showcase the completion of the country’s first ever continuous east to west road.
The trip is being chronicled by state media and comes after a blizzard of publicity for Mr Putin who in recent months has been filmed shooting whales with a crossbow, piloting an amphibious fire fighting plane, and riding a Harley-Davidson trike with a gang of leather-clad bikers.
His schedule has fuelled speculation that the 57-year old former KGB spy is out to boost his action man image ahead of a presidential election in 2012 though he has yet to confirm whether he will run for what would be his third term in the Kremlin.
Mr Putin got 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 a brand new 1,300 mile road between the two cities was recently completed almost five decades after construction first begun meaning it is now theoretically possible to drive across Russia on a continuous joined up network of roads.
Dressed in a casual polo shirt and wearing sunglasses, Mr Putin 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,” he said.
Mr Putin repeatedly praised the quality of the Lada car he was driving, giving valuable free publicity to the car’s struggling Russian manufacturer Avtovaz. However, he 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.