Russian President Vladimir Putin looked bemused today as he was confronted by a group of topless female protestors in Germany.
The activists, who strip off to highlight a range of issues, including women's rights, press freedom and domestic violence were dragged kicking and screaming from the premises by security guards
As one women tried to push through to Putin she was blocked by his aides - her back was painted with an obscene word directed against the Russian president.
The members of the women's rights group Femen, which has staged protests against Russia's detention of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot around Europe, appeared as he visited a trade fair in Hanover with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
They stripped off to the waist and shouted slogans calling the Russian leader a 'dictator' before being covered up and bundled away by security men.
But a smiling Putin shrugged off the protest and said 'As for the action, I liked it.'
'You should be grateful to the girls, they are helping you make the fair more popular.'
But Merkel was not amused. 'Whether one has to resort to such an emergency measure in Germany and can't say one's piece some other way, I have my doubts,' she said.
But it seems that the Kremlin were not so impressed by the demonstration as Putin.
'This is ordinary hooliganism and unfortunately it happens all over the world, in any city. One needs to punish (them),' said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
The Russian leader's arrival at the trade fair on Sunday also drew protesters, some of whom were dressed in striped prison uniforms. 'Stop political terror,' read one banner.
Merkel told Putin in a speech at the fair on Sunday that Russia needed 'an active civil society' including freedom for non-governmental organisations, after a wave of controversial state inspections of foreign-funded NGOs in Russia.
The chancellor had promised to raise what she called 'controversial subjects' with Putin, after coming under pressure to voice Berlin's unease over the crackdown on NGOs, Moscow's support of the Syrian government and its criticism of the German-orchestrated financial bailout of Cyprus.