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Rediff.com  » News » Is Putin overthrown or he's had a secret baby?

Is Putin overthrown or he's had a secret baby?

March 16, 2015 12:44 IST
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Vladimir Putin is MIA (missing in action) and the Internet is obsessing over it!   

Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles as looks at the Russian gymnast Alina Kabayeva, his rumoured girlfriend in this November 2004 picture. Photograph: Reuters 

Russia’s omnipresent President Vladimir Putin has not been seen in public since March 5 -- it’s been over 10 days now.

On Monday, all eyes will be on St Petersburg where a meeting has been planned between the Russian president and his Kyrgyz counterpart Almazbek Atambayev. But will Putin show up, we wonder.

This absence -- largely unexplained -- has set rumour mills into an overdrive. Here’s a look at some theories floating around the Internet as the world tries to figure out what made Putin cancel a trip to Kazakhstan and even more surprisingly skip a crucial meet with Russia’s domestic intelligence service.

1) There has been a stealthy coup in Moscow. Former FSB (Russia’s domestic intelligence service) chief Nikolai Patrushev was behind the plot, Geydar Dzhemal, chairman of the pro-Kremlin national Islamic Committee, claimed. He has been imprisoned within the Kremlin, reports say.    

2) A Kazakh government official told Reuters, "It looks like he (Putin) has fallen ill." The macho president has caught a devastating flu going around in Moscow.

“Putin probably has a flu -- that’s the trouble with cold wars,” said Dubai-based traveller Robert Scott with a certain humour on Twitter.

A mock funeral plate, depicting Putin as former German dictator Adolf Hitler, which is being used as part of a "Funeral of Putin" performance in a front of the Russian embassy in Kiev. Photograph: Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

3) Putin suffered a stroke and the 62-year-old is probably dead. But The New York Times quoted Dmitry S Peskov, the presidential spokesman, as saying, “He’s fine.”

The Russian translation of the hashtag #PutinIsDead has wracked up nearly 4,000 tweets.

4) Putin has disappeared on purpose to distract everyone from the problems and economic pressures piling up around Russia. This, The New York Times, has termed as “wag-the-dog” grandfather of all conspiracy.

5) Swiss paper Bilk reported that Putin was in Switzerland with Alina Kabayeva, a beautiful 32-year-old Russian gymnast who won a gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The paper said that the two were staying in a private hospital -- popular with wealthy Russians -- and that Kabayeva had given birth to a girl.

The divorced Putin has never confirmed the relationship, but the two have been linked for several years. There are unconfirmed reports that Kabayeva has two other kids with Putin, reports The New York daily.     

Putin’s office denied the baby rumors and insist their leader had been in meetings all week. “The information on the birth of a baby by Putin is untrue,” Peskov told Forbes Russia.

The Russian government released this picture of Putin on International Women's Day, but it was shot four days ago. @KremlinRussia_E/Twitter

The Russian government has released some recent pictures of Putin, but it appears that they are playing for time. Photographs were released on Friday morning of the strongman meeting with the head of the country's supreme court. But there is no verification that the meeting occurred last week. 

On March 11, the Kremlin announced that Putin met with the head of the Karelian Republic. But it turns out local Karelian media had already reported this meeting back on March 4, ABC News reports.
Then there was the International Women's Day video released by the Kremlin on March 8 -- but participants said it was pre-recorded four days earlier, the reports says.

Clearly, something's fishy!          

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