Putin used to be genuinely energetic. It's one of the things people liked about him. More recently he's taken to faking it- inviting the cameras along to witness his bare chested romps through the wilderness and his arm-wrestling matches. I particularly enjoyed the one where he dived on an archaeological site and came up waving amphorae. Then, this autumn, he took his chum Berlusconi's advice and went for plastic surgery (his folks said it was just the lights making him look shiny) and now he's sporting the embalmed look so popular with an earlier generation of Russian leaders. Brezhnev could get away with seeming more dead than alive because he and his people controlled the pictures, but Putin lives in the age of YouTube- and once the Net decides you're a bit of a silly there's no going back. Maybe he'll survive the 12 more years at the top he's just awarded himself, but he's not going to find them comfortable. People are beginning to laugh (and boo and hiss.) Unless he comes down on them the way Stalin would have done, that's only going to get worse. Those who live by photo-ops, die by photo-ops.