In another universe, Vladimir Putin is just the balding, dead-eyed personal trainer at your gym, who only smiles when playing with his massive dogs ("the wolf pack") and spends more time topless than seems appropriate for a 62-year-old. Does he have a family? Who knows. Why does he always smell faintly of dill? Don't ask.
Nevertheless, he's always happy to spot for you, and his grunted "good" when you beat your bench press record feels all the more satisfying because you know you earned it. As the parody Instagram account @putininspiration puts it: "You only get out what you Putin."
@Putininspiration is a quiet masterpiece, taking the many macho images of the Russian president disseminated as part of his quasi cult of personality and repurposing them as insipid inspirational messages in the vein of #fitspiration and other hashtags. If you're not familiar with them, Putin's PR stunts have included saving a TV crew from a tiger attack, finding ancient Greek amphorae during a diving trip, and, of course, his many topless activities — fishing, horseback riding, and swimming included.
These images are far more palatable though, with platitudes like "If It Doesn't Challenge You It Won't Change You" and "Stars Can't Sparkle Without Darkness" pasted across them. Because, in a perfect universe, this is the Putin we'd all be getting to know. Slightly weird, sure, but basically benign, giving out tips on great smoothies and helping us blast those abs while whispering "The Only Bad Workout Is The One That Didn't Happen."