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Learning Judo With Vladimir Putin

In the latest installment of the ongoing Vladimir Putin manly man series, the Russian leader has a judo video making the rounds on the tubes. Officially, "Let's Learn Judo with Vladimir Putin" is an instructional DVD put out to mark the Kremlin tough guy's 56th birthday.

In reality -- like the now famous clips of Putin fishing with his shirt off and shooting a Siberian tiger with a tranquilizer gun -- it looks like yet another effort by the Russian prime minister's image makers to convince friend and foe alike that their man is a hard ass. Let the sissies of the world beware, or something like that.

-- Brian Whitmore

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at