Turginovo, Russia - (Festive Ass Mess): Flanked at a traditional Russian Orthodox midnight mass in Turginovo by the usual entourage of wholesome-looking, corpulent ex-shot put champion babushkas Vladimir Putin looked humble and Pius (sic) XII.
Sporting a fetching brown cable knit Christmas jumper and matching thermal socks the Russian PM appeared to be praying devoutly with the rest of them at the Basilica of the Intercession of the Mother of God.
A few moments later his heavily armored Zil was seen speeding away northwards towards a secret love nest in the Tver Valley foothills.
The Russian Prime Monster's conjugal Christmas visit to Alina Kabaeva - his mistress of the last seven years and alleged mother of their love child Igor - was shrouded in the usual secrecy.
The ex-Olympic champion rhythmic gymnast has reportedly bent over backwards to keep their tryst out of national headlines.
Her meteoric rise to political stardom has niggled many however, including the redoubtable Mrs Putin, herself a former USSR gymnast of extraordinary suppleness.
Turginovo onlookers say Putin was accompanied by his mutt Coni - a brown labrador named after ex-Bush Administration national security adviser Condoleezza Rice - and little Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a Karakachan pup given to him by his Transylvanian counterpart.
Outside the festive dacha secret service minders dressed in Santa's Elves costumes looked on nonchalantly as the PM's motorcade swept up the drive.
From inside the candlelit chalet an excited child's voice was heard calling out "Papa! Papa!"...
And somewhere in a Moscow apartment ex-KGB spookette Anya Kushchenko vowed revenge on the Russian Interior Ministry apparatchiks who destroyed her own fledgeling Manhattan aspirations.
Merry Christmas, Mother Russia!