They say Hercules was half-god, half-man. Apparently in Russian eyes, Vladimir Putin is too.
The Russian president celebrated his 62nd birthday on Tuesday with much fanfare, but the real show was the day before, when some of his adoring countrymen hosted an art show called "The 12 Labors of Putin" that drove home a simple message: Putin is the manliest man in the world.
A column of people forming the Russian national flag colors march in honor of Russian President Vladimir Putin in central Grozny, Oct. 7, 2014. (Elena Fitkulina/AFP/Getty Images)
The show featured artwork that directly compared Putin's achievements with the dozen legendary labors of Hercules.
Let's brush up on classical mythology and see what Putin supporters think he's been up to.
1. Beating down terrorism: slaying the Nemean lion (left print in the photo below)
A visitor takes photos during the "12 Labors of Putin" art exhibition, Oct. 6, 2014 marking the 62th birthday of Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the design workshop in Moscow. (Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images)
2. Battling international sanctions: slaying the Lernaean Hydra (above, on the right)
In the painting above, you'll notice the Hydra head representing the U.S. is already lying severed on the ground as the sword-wielding Putin does combat with the remaining heads of Japan, Canada and the European Union.
3. Hosting the Sochi Olympics: capturing the Ceryneian Hind
четвертый подвиг Путина - олимпиада pic.twitter.com/VbqBJxYPsp— Feldman (@EvgenyFeldman) October 6, 2014
4. Taming oligarchs: capturing the Erymanthian Boar
Это же была борьба с коррупцией. А это? pic.twitter.com/2WgJO2YdMp— Грани.ру (@GraniTweet) October 6, 2014
5. Crushing corruption: cleaning the Augean stables
Угадайте какой из "12 подвигов Путина" на этой картине. pic.twitter.com/aBJoaZZWYx— Грани.ру (@GraniTweet) October 6, 2014
6. Stopping the U.S. from launching airstrikes against the forces of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad: scaring off the Stymphalian birds
Note the American flags on the wings of those jets.
"12 подвигов Путина". Это Сирия, а не то, что вы подумали. Видео будет вечером. pic.twitter.com/gHghY5KnJm— Грани.ру (@GraniTweet) October 6, 2014
7. Taking over Crimea: wrangling the Cretan Bull
A visitor takes photos during the "12 Labors of Putin" art exhibition, Oct. 6, 2014. (Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images)
8. Getting a French warships contract: stealing the Mare of Diomedes
"Twelve labours of Putin" exhibition in Moscow on Russian president's birthday eve pic.twitter.com/WNECCG7Mpk— Feldman (@EvgenyFeldman) October 6, 2014
Контракт с Китаем pic.twitter.com/dCuzl2BToH— Грани.ру (@GraniTweet) October 6, 2014
11. Support for the Minsk agreement for a cease-fire in Ukraine: using Atlas to get the Apples of the Hesperides
People visit the "12 Labors of Putin" art exhibition, Oct. 6, 2014. (Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images)
12. Struggling against the U.S.: thumping Cerberus (in the photo below, on the right)
That's right: In the minds of the artists who created Putin's tribute, America is literally a hellhound.
All in all, Russians apparently think Putin is a pretty cool guy.
He recently logged a public approval rating of 87 percent, and the turnout for his birthday festivities seemed pretty darn enthusiastic.
Salesmen in shirts with an image of Russian President Vladimir Putin wait for customers at GUM (the State Department Store) in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Oct. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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