Last Action Hero

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He's everywhere: Even by his own high-octane standards, the Russian prime minister had a banner year in 2010. Using carefully staged photo ops featuring, animals, celebrities and his own feats of derring-do, he more than demonstrated his still rock-solid dominance of Russian politics. Above, screens at a shop in Moscow display images of Putin during his annual televised question-and-answer sesssion on December 16.

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Top gun: Putin sits in the cabin of a Russian firefighting aircraft on Aug. 10 during the effort to contain the wildfires that ravaged several districts of Western Russia over the summer.

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On the ground: Putin speaks with firefighters while visiting the burnt forest areas near Voronezh on August 4. Putin was highly visible during the relief effort, in contrast to President Dmitry Medvedev, who largely observed the crisis from afar.

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That vision thing: Putin looks through binoculars during his working trip to the Central Russian region of Khakassia, on February 25.

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On the range: Putin fishes, hunts, and rides a horse during his trip to Ubsunur Hollow Biosphere Reserve in Tuva Republic in a series of undated photos released Oct. 30.

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Thar she blows: Putin aims a harpoon at a whale on the Olga Bay, hoping to take a piece of its skin for analysis, some 240 kilometres northeast of Nakhodka on August 25.

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Polar spring: Putin and scientists examining a polar bear on the island of Alexandra Land, part of the Franz Josef Land archipalego in the Arctic Ocean on April 29.

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Danger zone: Putin inspects a new new fifth-generation fighter at Rameskoye airfield on June 17 in Zhukovsky, 40 km. east of Moscow.

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Born to be wild: Putin rides a Harley-Davidson Lehman Trike as he leaves the meeting with motorbikers at their camp at Gasfort Lake near Sevastopol in Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula on July 24.  

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Go speed racer: Putin wears a helmet and the uniform of the Renault Formula One team before driving a F1 race car on a special track outside St. Petersburg on Nov. 7.

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Sensitive side: Putin pets a Belarus police dog in Brest on March 16 during a visit to a border crossing checkpoint between Belarus and Poland.

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In the tank: Putin visits Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Research Centre in Star City outside Moscow on April 6.

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Titan of Industry: Putin visit a new assembly plant set up by Komatsu Manufacturing in Yaroslavl on June 18.

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So slick: Putin visits a Lukoil stationary oil platform in the Caspian Sea on April 28.

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Milk man: Putin feeds a moose on June 5 during a visit to the Moose Island National Park in Moscow on the eve of World Environment Day.

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New best friend: Putin holds a shepherd dog he received as a gift from Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov on Nov. 30. After a nationwide poll, the dog was eventually named Buffy.*

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Helping hand: Putin meets with a victim of a metro terrorist bomb attack at a Moscow hospital on March 29.

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Working the line: A picture taken on May 29, 2010 shows Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as he kisses a baby during his visit to Nevskaya Dubrowka dormitory outside St. Petersburg.

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Each one teach one: Putin meets with teachers and children during a visit to School Number 88 in Tyumen on February 26.

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Worthy opponent: Putin plays a game of tic-tac-toe against the schoolchildren in Tyumen.

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Glowing with pride: Putin signs the guestbook during a visit to an atomic power station in Volgodonsk on March 18.

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Pit stop: Putin refuels a Russian-made Lada Kalina car as he stops at the petrol station in the Khabarovsk region on August 27.

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Take a look, it's in a book: Putin gets a library card during a visit to a library in Tyumen on February 26.

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Rescue ranger: Putin tests out equipment as he visits an exhibition of rescue equipment at the Civil Defense Academy of the Russian Ministry of Civil Defence, Emergencies and Disaster Relief in the town of Khimki outside Moscow on November 12.

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Seeing deeper: Putin wears 3-d glasses during a visit to the "visualization center" at the Gazprom Scientific and Research Institute of Natural Gases and Gas Technologies, outside Moscow on Aug. 3.

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Rack 'em up: Medvedev and Putin play billiards while on vacation in the the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Dec. 3.

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Bunga buddies: Medvedev, Putin, and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pose for a photo aboard a passenger jet as they tour an airport in Sochi, on Dec. 3.

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A river runs through it: Putin fishes with Berlusconi in the Saint Petersburg region on Oct. 9.

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I'll never let go: Putin speaks with U.S. actor Leonardo DiCaprio on November 23 after a concert in honor of the International Tiger Conservation Forum in Saint Petersburg.

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Model partnership: Putin takes questions from supermodel Naomi Campbell in an interview held during the International Tiger Conservation Forum on November, 23 in Saint Petersburg.

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Piano man:  Putin plays the opening to "Blueberry Hill" during a charity concert in Saint Petersburg on December 10.

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Storm ahead: Putin walks along a river beach during his visit to Nevskaya Dubrowka dormitory outside St. Petersburg on May 29. The coming year will be a consequential one for Putin, as it will include both parliamentary elections and a likely decision over whether he will return to the presidency in 2012.  

*This slideshow was corrected to fix an error in the title of the Bulgarian prime minister.

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