Vladimir Putin is not dead, Kremlin insists

“No need to worry, everything is all right” – that was the message from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, following speculation that the president was ill or even dead.

Mr Putin has not been seen in public since March 5, and has reportedly cancelled a string of meetings since then.

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The president was due to meet his Kazakh counterpart on 5 March, but a source told Reuters the meeting was cancelled because Putin had fallen ill. Photos have since been released in an attempt to dispel fears, but those photos appear to have been taken before March 5.

On Thursday the president’s press secretary attempted to dispel fears, saying: “He has working meetings all the time, only not all of these meetings are public.”


Putin “congratulates women” for International Women’s Day, supposedly on March 8.  Photo: Kremlin

The secretary assured journalists the president, who has cultivated a tough-guy image, was “absolutely healthy”, adding that  “his handshake is so strong he breaks hands with it.”

He explained away the speculation that Putin was dead as hallucinations brought on by “spring madness”.

“As soon as the sun appears in spring, when the smell of spring is in the air, some people suffer from crises. … Some have hallucinations about the government dissolution and some cannot see Putin on television for several days,” he said. “We have a calm attitude to such crises and keep answering all questions in a patient manner.”

Mr Putin’s website, meanwhile, reports that the president has been busy signing legislation, meeting with regional leaders, and even meeting the mothers of prominent Russians in celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8.

However, one of the women in the photos reportedly told RBK the photo had been taken three days earlier.


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