Pavel Durov, the Russian founder of social media Vkontakte and Telegram, launched a social media flash mob #PutinShirtlessChallenge on August, 14, reported by the Guardian.

He published his topless photo and invited the Russian men to take their shirtless photos after Vladimir Putin took few topless shots on a fishing trip in Siberia. Putin visited the Lake Baikal (the deepest and oldest in the world) which is about 2,300 miles east of Moscow. Pavel Durov asked the people to follow only two rules: not to use photoshop and pumping.

The reaction of the Russian men

Social media users actively supported the new flash mob. On August 14, more than a thousand men responded to his challenge and started publishing their shirtless photos with #PutinShirtlessChallenge on social media. Men of different ages and different body types also joined the challenge. Some of the pictures looked funny and received many views, likes, and comments.

How did it start?

Putin's photo with a naked torso was published in early August, after the fishing in Siberia. It drew the attention of the Western media, which said that the Russian President is in an excellent physical shape. 64-year-old President of Russia impressed the whole world. He was discussed in every popular newspaper.

The Daily Mail newspaper noted that such photos were taken specifically to show that the Russian leader is healthy, vigorous and full of energy. It was not the first time he has gone topless, in 2009, he was riding the horse without a shirt.

Vladimir Putin was called a man of action and adventure lover. A newspaper the Sun said that the Russian President is not only a master of martial arts and a great hockey player, but, as it turned out, an amateur of underwater fishing, swimming and relaxing on a sunny day.

Newsweek magazine also wrote that the goal of the shoot is to represent Putin as a vigorous and healthy man. The publication noted that this image contrasts with the image of older Soviet leaders.

Vladimir Putin visited the Tyva Republic. He was accompanied by the head of state in this journey, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the heads of Khakassia and Tuva.

The President, who prefers an active vacation, tried to fill his free days with the maximum possible outdoor adventures. He bathed in a very rough river, swam, drove off-road on an ATV. But his priority was fishing. The key moment was the underwater pursuit of the pike, which the President shot on a GoPro camera attached to his mask.