Vladimir Putin Gives Topless Political Protest Two Thumbs Up

We think Roger Ebert would have been proud

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Putin confronted by topless protesters in Hannover, Germany, on April 8, 2013

We’ve grown pretty accustomed to photos of Russian President Vladimir Putin topless, whether he’s nonchalantly riding a horse or casually walking beside a mountain stream. But this time, the shirt is on the other torso. While visiting Hannover, Germany, to meet with European leaders, Putin was blitzed by three topless members of the women’s rights group Femen, who shouted slogans at the Russian leader and called him a “dictator” before being escorted away. Still, the incident was just long enough to produce an unscripted and amazingly goofy reaction from the usually dour Putin, whose face expressed pretty much the same emotion as any human when presented with a lunging half-naked woman. As caught in Gawker’s hilarious and probably not-safe-for-work GIF, the Russian leader immediately gave two thumbs up as he ogled the nude kamikaze protester. (He may not have been as big a fan if he could read the “obscene slogan” written in Cyrillic on her back, as the Telegraph termed it.)

Femen took credit for the protest on their Facebook page, according to the Telegraph, calling it an “antidictatorial attack on Putin.” The group has previously targeted Putin over the arrest and conviction of members of the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot — two of whom are still doing time in Russian labor camps — after they performed an anti-Putin song in a Moscow cathedral. The Russian President was also greeted later that same day with protests in Amsterdam over what gay-rights groups call Moscow’s “institutional repression” of gays and lesbians, Reuters reported.

“Regarding this performance, I liked it,” a grinning Putin said later about the topless protests, according to Reuters. “I did not catch what they were shouting. I did not even see if they were blondes, brunettes or chestnut-haired.”