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Putin admits stunts were staged

Russian President Vladimir Putin has admitted some of his most publicised stunts were staged.

Mr Putin's media appearances - riding a horse bare-chested, petting a polar bear and putting a tracking device on a Siberian tigress - have endeared him to many Russians and provoked scorn among others.

Last year he was shown on Russian television with two ancient Greek jugs he allegedly found while scuba diving.

Mr Putin confirmed to journalist Masha Gessen that "of course, (the jugs) were planted", and added that "swindles happen" when his subordinates organise his stunts, according to her story published in the Bolshoy Gorod magazine.

He said he was angry about the set-ups.

Ms Gessen, the author of a book critical of Mr Putin, lost her editing job at a travel magazine after refusing to cover his flight with cranes on a hang-glider last week.

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