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Why Does Vladimir Putin Walk With So Much Swagger?

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Why does Vladimir Putin walk with that signature strut? The study in the current British Medical Journal says Russia's leader walks with what they diagnose as gunslinger's gait, like the marshal in "High Noon."

Researchers say the Putin perambulation isn't swagger over Russian soldiers in Ukraine or Syria but the result of KGB training. Mr. Putin was lieutenant colonel in the KGB before the Soviet Union collapsed. The researchers consulted an old KGB training manual and say KGB operatives who were instructed to keep their weapon in their right hand close to their chest and to move forward with one side, usually the left, presumably allowing its subjects to draw the gun as quickly as possible when confronted with a foe. They call it a behavioral adaptation resulting from military or intelligence training. Or the stinted swing of President Putin's right arm could be that he just likes to keep it free to send little smiley face emojis to his friends. Aw. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.