‘Where is Putin?’ Rumors and Questions as Russian Leader Drops Off RadarPosted: March 12, 2015
Whispers in Moscow about a leader’s health are nothing new
Moscow (AFP) – Where is President Vladimir Putin? The Kremlin was forced Thursday to insist the Russian leader was in good health as rumours swirled online over his week-long absence from the public eye.
“There’s no need to worry, he’s absolutely healthy.”
— Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov
Putin was last seen in public on March 5 when he met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and, ever since he postponed a trip to Kazakhstan this week, Russians have grown increasingly curious about what their usually omnipresent leader is up to.
The 62-year-old nurtures a fit, tough-guy image and rarely takes time off.
“There’s no need to worry, he’s absolutely healthy,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Echo of Moscow radio station on Thursday.
“As soon as the sun comes out… and it starts smelling of spring, people start getting delusions.”
— Dmitry Peskov, to Echo of Moscow radio station
Putin also postponed a meeting to sign an alliance agreement with the leader of the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia, and did not show up at a meeting of the FSB security agency.
Peskov said the agreement with the rebel region may be signed next week and that Putin’s attendance at the FSB meeting was not planned.
He said Putin was busy with Russia’s economic crisis and has “meetings constantly, but not all meetings are public.”
Asked if Putin’s handshake remains firm, Peskov laughed and said: “It breaks your hand.” However he evaded a question on when Putin would next be seen on television.
“As soon as the sun comes out… and it starts smelling of spring, people start getting delusions,” Peskov told TASS agency.
Adding grist to the rumour mill, the RBK news website claimed that Kremlin footage purporting to show Putin meeting regional governors and women on International Women’s Day last week had in fact been filmed earlier. Peskov denied this….(read more)
- Kremlin Says Putin Healthy, Dismisses illness Rumors (jpupdates.com)
- Russia Launches Large-Scale Military Exercises Including Abkhazia, Crimea and S. Ossetia (therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com)
- Moscow to seek binding guarantees on non-use of force at Geneva talks on Transcaucasia (tass.ru)
- Moscow Again Putting Separatist Regions in Play Against Georgia (refworld.org)
- Putin Endorses Draft Treaty On ‘Integration’ With South Ossetia (eurasiareview.com)
- Russian Army Begins Military Exercises in Crimea and Caucasus (matthewaid.com)
- Russia Begins War Games In The North Caucasus, Crimea, And On The Ukraine Border (warnewsupdates.blogspot.com)