Vladimir Putin has bankrolled the development of what the Kremlin-backed media describes as an army of “hybrid robo-soldiers,” he’s claimed dominion over the North Pole, and his regime has been found to be hoarding gold. His minions are even pushing Texas to secede from the United States.
What more could the Russian leader do to cement his position as the world leader most like a villain from a James Bond film? Well, traveling to the bottom of the ocean in a mini-submarine might do the trick.
Related: Putin’s Economy May Be in Worse Shape than It Looks
The Russian people, suffering economic privation and increasingly concerned that their leader is isolated from them and their problems, saw Putin appear on front pages Tuesday in a literal bubble, surfacing in a miniature submarine on the Black Sea after visiting an ancient shipwreck off the coast of Russian-occupied Crimea.
According to the Associated Press, a reporter asked Putin how he could justify spending money on underwater adventures when the Russian economy is struggling though a recession. Plainly trying to deflect attention to what could only have been a visit to the vast underwater hideout from which he plans his next move, Putin retorted that the dive would raise publicity for the Russian Geographical Society.
Click here for more inspiring photos of Vladimir Putin at his Bond villain best.