This "story" of Putin saving a TV crew from an escaped Amur Tiger is as easily digestible and almost as amateurish as the North Korean propaganda about Kim Il Sung getting 18 hole-in-ones in a row on the Pyongyang golf course.
With Putin stepping aside, but not down, a carefully planned but poorly executed PR campaign will continue to boast of his heroism and implied statesmanship.
Most of the released photos showcase Putin sternly gazing on while the tiger is tagged. I can only chuckle and then shake my head in disappointment as most media have spread this story, without questioning or ridiculing it. This isn't real news.
Seemingly out of place, and obviously in response to the West's strong reaction of Russia's military incursions in Georgia, Putin's spin doctors appended a conciliatory volley, "First of all, we must thank our colleagues, Americans, European colleagues for being involved with this during a difficult time for Russia when no-one was paying any attention to this."
Last October I spent a week in the heart of the Amur valley where this Siberian Tiger is still hunting. It's both fortunate for me and unfortunate for this largest of cats that there aren't many left.