LATEST - Russia: Vladimir Putin is said to have baby in Switzerland
The internet is ablaze with rumors and concerns about the health of Russian President Vladimir Putin since he's not been seen in public since March 5th:
Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has been forced to deny that the 62-year-old president is in poor health after a string of meetings were canceled and the Kremlin published old photographs to claim work was proceeding as usual.
Concerns over Putin’s well-being were first raised earlier this week when he postponed a trip to Kazakhstan for talks with the country’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, and Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko. A source in the Kazakh government told Reuters that the visit was canceled because Putin had fallen ill.
Putin has not been seen in public since a meeting and press conference with Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi on 5 March, where he appeared healthy.
“There’s no need to worry, everything is fine,” Peskov told the radio station Ekho Moskvy when asked about the leader’s health. He said Putin is “constantly in meetings, but they are not all public”, adding that the business at hand was “very stressful” because of the crises he is dealing with.
The Russian president was slated to talk with officials from Georgia’s breakaway republic of South Ossetia on Wednesday, but the meeting was reportedly canceled at the last minute. He also failed to attend an annual meeting with officers of the Federal Security Service on Thursday, although Peskov said he hadn’t been planning to attend this year. Sources close to the Kremlin reportedly told RBK newspaper that the governor of the Yamal-Nenets region hadn’t met with Putin on Tuesday, even though the presidential website said he had.
According to sources of Igor Stepanov, a well-known Russian blogger and political activist, Putin is alive but in an induced coma after a severe stroke. The Russian President has been under extensive stress recently due to conflicts among intelligence agencies around him. At the moment, these conflicts continue and decision-making in the Kremlin is partially paralyzed.
Respected Ukrainian blogger Vitaly Kim said that, according to his sources, all power in the Kremlin is now in the hands of Prime Minister Medvedev, including management of the armed forces. Military helicopters have been seen landing on government buildings in central Moscow including the Kremlin and the Lubyanka FSB headquarters. Here's some video from Moscow today:
Unconfirmed Russian Internet rumors that Vladimir Putin is dead
DEBKAfile March 12, 2015, 11:03 AM (IDT)
DEBKAfile reports that Russian websitesThursday morning began running unconfirmed reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin had suddenly died. This has not been confirmed by any official in Moscow. But a short announcement of Putin’s death was seen briefly on Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s website early Thursday, only to be removed after 20 minutes. According to officials in Moscow, Putin was expected in Kazakhstan Thursday for meetings with its leaders, but failed to turn up.
Russkiy Monitor has gone ahead and published an email received by the editorial office claiming that Putin had a stroke. The Interpreter has a translation:
A letter arrived in the electronic email box of Russkiy Monitor signed by an anonymous official of the Central Clinical Hospital of the Department of Presidential Affairs in Moscow, in which he reported that among the patients of this elite Moscow hospital, where the top leadership of the Russian Federation are registered, there were rumors that Vladimir Putin was diagnosed several days ago with an ischemic stroke. Even so, the source said that the president was not hospitalized directly at the Central Clinical Hospital.
The editorial board of Russian Monitor cannot confirm or deny the information which might very well be false, however we must note the fact that the president has not been seen in public since last week, his meeting with the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan was unexpectedly cancelled. Observers note that since Putin has been in power, nothing of this sort has occurred.
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