Vladimir Putin has climbed a mountain and picked mushrooms and berries in the Siberian wilderness to celebrate his 67th birthday, even as his ratings continue to flag.
In a video and photographs published by the Kremlin, Mr Putin drove an off-road vehicle through a forest with defence minister Sergei Shoigu and flew in a helicopter over jagged peaks, sweeping forests and a dramatic river canyon.
Wearing sunglasses and carrying a large wooden staff, the president hiked up a mountain overlooking the Yenisei river at an altitude of “almost 2,000 metres”.
“We've climbed above the clouds,” he remarked, gazing into the distance.
He and Mr Shoigu gathered lingonberries and mushrooms, chuckling at one with a pine cone caught on top, and picnicked around a campfire.
The head of Tuva later said the video was taken in his remote region on the Mongolian border, where the Russian leader went hiking and boating last year.
Mr Putin took the trip a few days ago, his spokesman said, and plans to spend his actual birthday on Monday “in nature with relatives and friends”.
Last year Mr Putin celebrated his birthday at his seaside residence in Sochi with Italy's former PM Silvio Berlusconi, and he has previously marked the occasion with vodka and sausages with Xi Jinping of China.
A host of post-Soviet leaders as well as Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Serbia president Aleksandar Vucic congratulated Mr Putin by phone, the Kremlin said.
In two decades in power, Mr Putin has often shown off his vigour and adventurousness through outdoor stunts like flying a glider with cranes, firing a crossbow at a gray whale, releasing tigers into the wild and putting a tracking collar on a polar bear.
On his holidays he's typically shown hunting, fishing, hiking or riding, often bare-chested.
By these high standards, the latest photo op was somewhat subdued, with Mr Putin apparently limping at one point during the hike.
This summer was one of strife as massive protests shook Moscow, further eroding the president's ratings after an unpopular pension age hike last year.
A poll published this month showed that only 43 per cent of Russians would vote for their current leader if elections were held on Sunday. This repeated his rating from August, which was his lowest since 2001.
However, 60 per cent of those surveyed said they approved of his performance.