Putin as Hercules for his 62th birthday
07 October, 2014
In Greek mythology, Heracles, or Hercules, the son of Zeus, performed 12 labours: a dozen incredibly difficult and highly dangerous tasks.
But slaying the Neamean lion or battling the Lernaean hydra must have been a walk in the park, compared to what Vladimir Putin has had to deal with. At least, that's the impression you get from this bizarre exhibition, BBC reports.
“The original 12 Labours of Hercules were acts of penance and toil performed by the Greek hero. To
mark Vladimir Putin's 62nd birthday, Hercules' tasks have been given a Russian makeover. Mythical monsters have been replaced by modern monstrosities such as terrorism.
Mr Putin grapples with the multi-headed hydra... of Western sanctions. The EU, US, Canada and Japan imposed sanctions after accusing Russia of supplying separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine with heavy weapons and soldiers - an accusation Russia denies.
Mr Putin is depicted stopping Western intervention in Syria - a reference to Russia's veto at a UN Security Council vote in 2012. The exhibition has been organised by the Vladimir Putin Supporters Group on Facebook. The artists however, are a mystery.
"They want to remain anonymous," explained one of the group's members, Mikhail Antonov, to the BBC. The images were a special birthday present for the president, he added. In one of the paintings, Mr Putin fights off the horses of corruption.
Destroying the not-so-mythical "oligarch beasts". When Mr Putin came to power in 2000 he vowed to destroy Russia's oligarchs as a "class".
This painting of Mr Putin riding a fearsome Crimean ox refers to the peninsula's breakaway from Ukraine and absorption by Russia by way of a referendum held in March 2014.
The Mistral contract was a contract for delivery of warships from France to Russia in a deal worth 1.2bn euros. France has come under pressure to scrap the deal after the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 in eastern Ukraine by pro-Russia separatists.
The South Stream pipeline is one of Russia's most powerful diplomatic pressure tools. Running across most of Europe from Russia, it feeds the region with a supply of gas that many countries rely upon.
In May 2014 Russia and China signed a landmark 30-year gas deal worth around $400bn. In one of the pictures Mr Putin is credited with a trade victory.
As seen on another picture, backing peace in Ukraine, Mr Putin is painted as a strong leader by the group. "We the people have trusted the leaders of Russia: the tsars, the emperors, or general secretaries of the Communist party," Mikhail tells our correspondent. "Vladimir Putin continues that tradition. He is a hero of the people."
In the final labour, Mr Putin is depicted as doing battle with his nemesis - the United States. With a domestic approval rating exceeding 80%, Vladimir Putin is currently enjoying the kind of popularity that Western politicians, maybe even Hercules himself, could only dream of,” BBC reports.

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