Happy Birthday, Vladimir Putin— Er, Hercules
One-day exhibit compares pint-sized strongman to, you know, son of Zeus
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2014 12:17 PM CDT
Salesmen in shirts with an image of Russian President Vladimir Putin wait for customers at GUM (the State Department Store) in Moscow, Russia, Monday, Oct. 6, 2014.   (Alexander Zemlianichenko)
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(Newser) – Today marks the blessed occasion of terrible despot/bird savior/actual human embodiment of testosterone/possible caveman Vladimir Putin's 62nd birthday, and in case you forgot to send cupcakes, well, old Vlad is giving the world a gift, and it's truly Herculean in scope: Dubbed "The 12 Labors of Vladimir Putin," it's a one-day-only exhibit in Moscow in which the Russian overlord is depicted as for-really-real Hercules. As the AP puts it, the mighty Pooty-Poot is seen bravely "battling Western nations disguised as serpents and monsters or taming an ox bearing the symbol of Crimea, the Ukrainian region annexed by Russia in March." The Wall Street Journal has pictures.

Organizers explain the exhibit thusly, as per the Daily Intelligencer: "Interestingly, the events of the ancient legends about the mythological hero Hercules can be relayed onto our days, when the three-headed dog Cerberus reminds us of the USA, annihilation of the Stymphalian Birds—of stopping the air raids in Syria and the cleaning of the Augean stables is fighting corruption." As for Putin's personal celebration, he's spending the day in Siberia—presumably by choice—some "300-400 kilometers (185-250 miles) from the nearest populated area," as per his flak. And lest you doubt Mother Russia's love for her oh-so-strong son, the AP notes that his approval rating is at 86%, in a poll with a 3.4% margin of error. (Meanwhile, let's not forget he's a genius with get-out-the-vote efforts.)