There's been ongoing conjecture that Russian President Vladimir Putin employs lookalikes to represent him during public events due to health or protection concerns. However, the Kremlin dismissed such gossip on Tuesday.
When questioned by journalists regarding an unverified story on a Russian Telegram channel which suggested that Putin experienced a significant health setback on Sunday — a story that some Western news agencies still reported — Kremlin representative Dmitry Peskov chuckled.
“Everything is fine with him, this is absolutely another fake,” Peskov remarked, based on a Reuters interpretation, rejecting another inquiry about Putin potentially using stand-ins.
“This belongs to the category of absurd information hoaxes that a whole series of media discuss with enviable tenacity. This evokes nothing but a smile,” Peskov added.
Putin has cultivated much of his leadership persona around the portrayal of himself as a virile, robust "man's man," even appearing shirtless on occasions, like when he's on horseback during fishing and hunting excursions.
At 71 years old, Putin is widely anticipated to vie for the presidency in 2024 due to amendments in Russia's constitution that permit him to. However, he hasn't formally announced this intention.
While Putin has refuted the idea of employing lookalikes, he did mention in a 2020 conversation with Russia's TASS news agency that he was once presented with the option to use one for safety measures during Russia's second conflict with Chechnya in the early 2000s. He chose not to take up that offer.
“I refused to have doubles. It was during the most difficult time of the fight against terrorism,” Putin said, without providing any more details.
Whenever Putin is seen looking marginally altered, like exhibiting a changed skin tone or lacking a wristwatch, for instance, rumors surface.
“PUTIN” has arrived to China ??????????
????♂️ Do you think it is REALLY Vladimir Putin, or “Putin-the-body-double,” arriving to beg for Chinese assistance??
???? Looking at his movement & knowing Putin’s fear of COVID:
???? I think this is the body-double Putin. pic.twitter.com/Oll6EI2GIA
— Jason Jay Smart (@officejjsmart) October 17, 2023
In April, Peskov, Putin's representative, once more dismissed the claims about a body double, remarking, “you have probably heard that he [Putin] has very many doubles who work instead of him while he sits in a bunker.”
“Of course, he doesn’t sit in any bunkers. This is also a lie,” Peskov replied.
The president, once a Judo champion, is reportedly very cautious about his health, implementing rigorous precautions during the Covid-19 pandemic to minimize his risk of infection.
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