Putin performs unexpected piano recital in Beijing

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(CNN) — Vladimir Putin, Russia's leading Renaissance man, has just shown off yet another hidden talent: He's a trained pianist.

The controversial Russian president was at a Chinese state guesthouse in Beijing on Sunday, waiting for a meeting with President Xi Jinping. There, Putin spotted a shiny black grand piano and couldn't resist.

Putin sat down and spontaneously played two Russian songs, "Moscow Windows" and "The City on the Free Neva River," Russia's Sputnik news agency reported.

But this was far from a typical spontaneous performance. First, a videographer followed Putin as he walked to the piano. Second, the Russian leader played the unofficial anthems of Moscow and St. Petersburg — apparently never missing an opportunity to promote his country.


Putin was in Beijing to attend the "Belt and Road" economic forum. The conference focuses on the massive One Belt, One Road (OBOR) trade initiative, which takes its inspiration from the ancient Silk Road trading route.

Putin's unexpected piano recital certainly isn't the first time he's publicized his skills and hobbies outside the Kremlin.

The annual Vladimir Putin calendar has showcased the president's many passions, featuring him as an equestrian, a pilot, a shirtless fisherman and a cat lover.

CNN's James Griffiths contributed to this report.