A GIGGLING Vladimir Putin cracked a bizarre joke about having a “rubber bum” and seemed unable to stop his legs from twitching in a surreal appearance with Russian schoolchildren.
The pupils – who had been ordered to quarantine for 14 days beforehand by paranoid Vlad – appeared baffled by the Russian president’s speech as he addressed them in the exclave territory of Kaliningrad.
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Slumped in his chair and barely speaking above a whisper, the 69-year-old made a rare public appearance in front of selected high-achieving students.
His legs seem to twitch continuously as he addresses the room of children aged between nine and 12.
As part of a rambling speech, Putin offered a twisted version of history and repeated the line that Russia and Ukraine should be one country.
At one point, when a boy wearing a red military-type uniform asked the warmonger a question, Putin launches into a truly confusing response.
“You need to be motivated to reach your goal,” he says. “And, of course, hard work.
“All this together is very important. Working hard is a talent in itself. “
He added: “It’s not just, excuse me, a rubber bum.
“It is a talent to force oneself to work, and to be able to do it productively.”
Vlad’s joke appeared to tickle him, as the video showed him chuckling to himself as he delivered it.
But his young audience remained stony-faced as they watched on, while Putin’s remarks triggered an equally puzzled response from many Russians.
One commenter said: “I am confused. I could at least understand his previous ‘jokes’.”
Another asked: “What’s behind the weird joke from our dictator?”
While journalist Elena Rykovtseva posted: “God forbid – is this what he’s flogging to school kids at the ‘Speak about the Important’ session in Kaliningrad?
“What kind of mess is in his head? Somebody cure this president!”
Working hard is a talent in itself. It’s not just, excuse me, a rubber bum
Political scientist Fyodor Krashennikov dubbed Putin simply: “Mr Rubber Bum.”
Another said: “What was it for? What did he mean by that? What does the rubber bum have to do with the subject under discussion? Someone please explain.”
Newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets said Putin was telling pupils not to see diligence as “rubber booty”.
Others pointed to his strange twitching, with one commenter writing on Twitter: “What’s he doing with his legs?”
One person claimed that he was demonstrating symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
“Right arm supported on arm of chair (so it doesn’t shake) and dyskinetic moments in the legs consistent with Parkinson’s disease with levodopa-induced dyskinesias,” they wrote.
Another contrasted Putin’s carefully managed and isolated appearance with one given by his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to a school in Irpin near the capital Kyiv.
The 44-year-old appears more relaxed and plays games with the children as he visited it for the first day of the school year.
Commentators were none the wiser on the reasons for Putin’s “rubber bum” moment.
Some reports claim that he mixed up his Soviet history, and was referring to the nickname given to a former USSR politician.
Josef Stalin’s notorious foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov was known as “Stone A***” because he was sit and work at his desk for 20 hours non-stop.
However, there is confusion over this, and he may have in fact been known as “Iron A***”, a nickname given to him by the first Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin.
Putin’s speech came just hours after he was filmed walking awkwardly as he laid flowers on the open casket of former Soviet President Michael Gorbachev.
The first and last president of the USSR, Gorbachev died in Moscow at the age of 91 on Tuesday.
Vlad’s office announced on Thursday that the Russian president will not attend Gorbachev’s funeral, citing that he is “too busy”.
It follows reports Putin is set to deny Gorbachev a state funeral, in what many see as a snub to the elder statesman.
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