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Russia's Telegram CEO sets #PutinShirtlessChallenge

By Sherie Ryder
BBC UGC and Social News

image copyrightPavel Durov / Instagram
image captionTelegram CEO Pavel Durov has set the bar high

The release of Russian President Putin's topless holiday snaps have inspired the CEO of messaging app Telegram, Pavel Durov, to set a shirtless challenge on social media.

image copyrightReuters
image captionPresident Putin's photos are from an early August trip to southern Siberia

Pavel Durov's #PutinShirtlessChallenge post on Instagram (which prohibited enhancing images with photoshop or "pumping") gained over 47,000 likes in one day.

It may be the first challenge of this sort, although not the first time Mr Putin has appeared without a shirt on holiday.

image copyrightAFP/GETTY
image captionOfficial photographs of President Putin relaxing bare-chested were released from his holiday in 2009

Many of Durov's followers were impressed with his physique, calling him "exceptionally built," and an "ideal male."

There were tweets aplenty, including a pose from Russian politician Dmitry Gudkov.

Russian men posted holiday snaps on Instagram in response to the challenge, including these from Nikolay Sokolov and Konstantin Protsky:

image copyrightNikolay Sokolov
image captionNikolay Sokolov posted his holiday naked torso snap on Instagram
image copyrightKostya Pro
image captionKonstantin Protsky posted this from the Altai Mountains

And as Anastasia pointed out, women were not excluded from the challenge.

image copyrightAnastasia
image captionAnastasia accepted the #PutinShirtlessChallenge

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Since the president's holiday in southern Siberia was featured on Russian TV in early August, and his naked torso photos have been circulating, some people have been tweeting about whether he intends to run for a fourth term as President.

Others referred to a Russian fairytale of a lazy man who caught a pike which fulfilled his wishes.

Or were the images posted to keep up the tough image of the Kremlin to the US?

image copyrightReuters
image captionGone fishing: President Putin and defence minister Sergei Shoigu

However, the challenge did inspire a tinge of sarcasm across social media, including cats and less "buff" torsos:

image copyrightMarcus Loki
image captionMarcus Loki posted his shirtless cat on Instagram!

Compiled by BBC UGC and Social News team, and BBC Monitoring's Yaroslava Kiryukhina and Ksenia Idrisova

Related Topics

  • Twitter
  • Russia
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Instagram
  • Social media

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