Is Vladimir Putin dead? The Kremlin officially denies the idea, but in Russia, social media has run rampant with the claim that “Vladimir Putin is dead” despite Russian authorities attempts to clamp down on the idea. Now, it’s being claimed Putin will officially make a public appearance on Monday, but others in the government are already telling relevant media to prepare for a “mystery” press conference in the next few days.
In a related reported report by the Inquisitr, there are a variety of interesting explanations for Putin’s absence, including the idea that he has cancer, is sick with the flu, or had a stroke. Some rumors even claim Putin is on paternity leave with his girlfriend in Switzerland.
Perhaps hoping to put a stop to any rumors of Vladimir Putin’s death, the Russian state television showed video of Putin meeting with the head of the Russian Supreme Court. Critics claimed the video might be old, and the Kremlin did not say when the meeting took place, but according to the Star Tribune, the Kremlin also says Putin’s schedule has him meeting Monday with the president of Kyrgyzstan. Press spokesman Dmitry Peskov also has pointed out that not all of Putin’s meetings are public, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if he disappears from the public eye for a time.
At the same time, rumors sprung up about a “mysterious” press conference planned for the future, and already investors have been selling off certain stocks just in case. According to CNN, Alexei Mukhin, Director General of the Centre for Political Information, confirmed that “something important” will happen soon, although the exact nature of this announcement has not been specified. When directly asked about Vladimir Putin’s health, Mukhin would neither confirm or deny that the Russian leader is currently “incapacitated.”
Unfortunately, Russia has a history of hiding the illnesses and death of its leaders. Joseph Stalin collapsed on February 28, 1953, but the guards did not want to risk their leader’s wrath and did not check up on him until the next morning. Stalin slowly died over the next 10 days, but U.S.S.R. officials did not want tell the rest of the country about his illness or impending death until March 7, 1953.
The comparisons to Stalin do not end there. As Vox points out, if rumors calling Vladimir Putin dead cause so much commotion, then this indicates a potential weak link in the Russian government.
“The rumors may not be true, but that does not mean they are irrelevant. They speak to Russians’ nervousness about what would happen if Putin really were to become incapacitated. Because power is so centralized around him, there is no fallback plan for what would happen if he really were to suddenly become unable to rule. A system of government that rests on the health of a single man is very fragile, and that fragility — that weakness — is frightening.”
Brookings Institution’s Hannah Thoburn says rumors about Putin’s health pop up on a regular basis, but she believes if the Russian government is so centralized upon Putin then that’s a serious issue. “If both the system and the integrity of the nation state are so centered on one person, whether it’s a czar or whether it’s Putin or some other leader, it becomes very dangerous,” Thoburn said.
What do you think about the Vladimir Putin death rumors?