Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has talked to supermodel Naomi Campbell about butterfly swimming, keeping in shape and a notorious erotic calendar.
In what is surely a contender for weirdest interviewer and interviewee combo of the year, the duo discussed some of former Russian leader’s famous exploits.
This included a picture of Putin circulated in 2009 where the ex-KGB operator was swimming the butterfly style in a fast-moving Siberian mountain river – at the age of 57.
Putin told Campbell he was swimming the incredibly tough stroke “because the water was cold.”
He added: “It was one of the famous Siberian rivers and the water was something like 16 degrees Celsius. My idea was to get out of the water as soon as possible.”
The fearsome politician explained his fitness regime, telling Campbell he keeps himself in shape by “going to the gym, swimming daily, and spending time on the judo mats”.
Despite his age, the 58-year-old is renowned for being a man of action – and has been photographed taking part in a series of super-macho exercises, mainly with his shirt off.
Putin has a judo black belt and regularly takes part in outdoor pursuits including hunting, bareback riding, white-water rafting, motor racing, and skiing.
He even came face to face with a polar bear last year, while his fishing photos have become the stuff of legend.
The supermodel asked Putin about the impression he has on women after a group of sexy Russian student journalists last year made a calendar paying tribute to their former leader.
Putin said: “I like the girls a lot, they’re beautiful.
“The girls in the erotic calendar were courageous and they were not scared.”
Campbell was chatting to Putin at last November’s tiger summit in St Petersburg – an event attended by Putin, Wen Jiabao, Leonardo DiCaprio and World Bank chief Robert Zoellick.
Read the full interview in this month’s UK edition of GQ, out on Feb 3