Vladimir Putin got to fire a really big gun, a cannon, at Russian Christmas. It is something that many children dream of.
In the context of the Russian liturgical calendar, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th. During a visit to his hometown of St. Petersburg on Monday, the Russian president visited Petropavlovsky Castle, on the banks of the Neva, and drew a daily salute from the artillery crane.
The midday shot has been a tradition since 1865.
Putin's harsh image in full force - head bare in the cold winter, seemed to recede a little when the cannon calmed down, then moved away with a slight smile.