The Russian prime minister was visiting the Ussuri reserve in Siberia, observing how researchers monitor the tigers in the wild, when a trapped beast escaped and charged towards a nearby camera crew.
Mr Putin apparently quickly shot the beast and sedated it with a tranquilizer gun.
“Vladimir Putin not only managed to see the giant predator up close but also saved our television crew too,” a presenter on Rossiya television said at the start of the main evening news.
Footage of the former KGB spy, who cultivated a macho image during his eight years as the Kremlin chief, showed him striding through the taiga in camouflage and desert boots before grappling with the tiger.
Mr Putin helped measure the Amur tiger‘s incisors before placing a satellite transmitter around the neck of the beast, which can weigh up to 450 kg.(990 lbs.)
The story comes from Russian media. It might be a contrived propaganda piece. The Russians have a tradition of that sort of thing. But Vladimir Putin is a real student of the martial arts, who has written a serious book on Judo in which he holds an advanced rank. He’s not a complete fake personally, so it is not impossible that this story is legitimate.