PRESIDENT Vladimir Putin has appeared with film actor Steven Seagal to promote healthy lifestyles for young Russians.
He appeared with the Hollywood star at a martial arts school in Moscow’s outskirts yesterday, and called for a return to the emphasis on physical fitness demanded during the Soviet era.
“I think it would be quite appropriate to recall the positive experience of past decades when the so-called GTO, Ready for Labour and Defence, was in use in our country,” he said.
The GTO mass physical training programme was introduced in the 1930s under dictator Josef Stalin.
“The revival of this system – in a new, modern format – could bring major benefits,” Mr Putin told government officials, teachers and coaches.
Mr Putin, who began a six-year term in May, has frequently appealed to nostalgia for the perceived order of the Soviet era.
Seagal’s action films are popular in Russia and he has met the president several times.
In what seemed to be a choreographed incident yesterday, Seagal rushed into a crowd of children trying to pose with Mr Putin and pulled him out, as if acting as his bodyguard.