Vladimir Putin disappeared about 10 days ago, setting off a firestorm of outlandish rumors: botched botox treatment, visiting newly born love-child in Switzerland, ousted from power in a coup d’etat, dead. Turns out they were all incorrect, according to the Russian independent news channel TV Rain.
The channel says he’s in bed with the flu.
The Guardian reports that the 62-year-old Russian president took refuge in his secluded lakeside home in Valdai, which is between Moscow and St. Petersburg.
The Kremlin has scheduled Vladimir Putin to meet with the president of Kyrgyzstan on March 16, which will be his first major public appearance since he disappeared.
Until then, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says President Putin will watch a new state documentary on the annexation of Crimea. Apparently, the film will show the takeover as more than just a Russian response to the area’s referendum. It will feature interviews with both Putin and Defense Minister Sergei Shoiguand.
The spokesman refused to comment any further on Putin’s disappearance, saying “the topic is closed.”
Still, rumors surrounding Alina Kabaeva, politician and former Olympic gymnast, will likely persist for some time. According to the Telegraph, since 2008, she’s believed to be Vladimir Putin’s secret girlfriend. Although that may sound scandalous, the Russian President has been divorced since 2014.
Vladimir Putin isn’t the first foreign leader to be given the conspiracy-theory treatment while on hiatus.
As reported by the Inquisitr late last year, Kim Jong Un was absent from public appearances for over a month. Some in the media speculated that his sister took over the government. Others believed he had suffered from a case of gout thanks to his unhealthy, cheese-heavy diet.
Of course, after the rumor mill had reached a fever pitch, Kim returned to the public spotlight. He did still suffer from a slight limp.
As for Putin, the Kremlin released some previous footage of the president talking about the Crimea annexation for the new documentary.
According to BBC News, he explained that “we never thought about severing Crimea from Ukraine until the moment that these events began, the government overthrow,” referring to the ousting of Russian-friendly Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovyc.
Vladimir Putin goes on to explain that he was even prepared to bring Russia’s nuclear arsenal to alert status to secure Crimea.
“[Crimea] is our historical territory. Russian people live there. They were in danger. We cannot abandon them.”
Looks like Vladimir Putin will be back in just a few days, and the world will still struggle to deal with the Ukraine crisis.
[Image Credit: Getty Images]