Putin Arm-Wrestled US Congressman, Drunk And Shirtless, And Won

Russian President Vladimir Putin arm-wrestled an US congressman once and won, apparently. Though it’s no secret that Putin seems to enjoy sparring with American politicians and taking his shirt off, he apparently likes to mix two of his favorite activities. Consider that the arm-wrestling contest apparently came after an alcohol-fueled argument over who won the Cold War, and Putin’s “bro” status can no longer be in doubt.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California recalled the confrontation during an interview with 89.3 KPCC radio last week, reports Buzzfeed. A strange story no doubt, the congressman says the arm-wrestling match took place sometime in the early 1990s, shortly after the Soviet Union came to an end.

Rohrabacher says that as one of Reagan’s speechwriters, three young foreign political leaders wanted to meet him and visited him in his office. In a friendly gesture, the representative from California offered to show the group of men how to play a game of American football.

The three men agreed. Who did Rohrabacher get to fill his team? “A bunch of my right-wing friends,” he says, which included Scooter Libby and future Vice President Dick Cheney. The three Americans squared off against the three Russians.

Rohrabacher says that after the game he took one of them, Putin, to a local Irish pub. There they enjoyed themselves and as more drinks went down the conversation turned toward the Cold War. They began to argue heatedly about the end of the Cold War, and which side had truly won.


“We decided to settle it like men do when they’ve had a little bit too much to drink … we got down to arm-wrestling,” Rohrabacher says. Taking their shirts off and putting their elbows to the bar, they tried to resolve decades of international conflict in the manliest way possible. Even though Putin was a “little guy,” he still managed to pin the representative in “a millisecond,” Rohrabacher says.

Putin arm-wrestled Rohrabacher and won, but the congressman says all was fair after a friend of his then arm-wrestled Putin’s bodyguard and beat him.

[Image via Degtyaryov Andrey / Shutterstock.com]