Having missed a week of engagements, rumors that Russian President Vladimir Putin was ill or had died were finally put to rest after the Kremlin released several photos. During his absence, people speculated that he was dealing with major health issues or had passed away but three images clearly show he is very much alive and well.
In the released photographs, Putin is seen meeting with the head of Moscow’s Supreme Court. In addition, Russia 24, which is the state broadcaster, aired their own video footage of the same meeting. While this development has put many people at ease, several news agencies to include CNN have not been able to independently confirm the meeting happened as indicated.
Dimitry Peskov, spokesman for the President, jokingly dispelled rumors of Putin’s ill health or death saying he was simply down because of spring fever.
In Peskov’s statement, he said that when the sun shines in the spring and people feel it in the air, the fever starts. He added that there are people who long for Sechin and the government’s resignation and that others have not seen Putin for several days on television but people in Russia are calm on the fever and are always patient when answering questions.
While speaking on Echo of Moscow, a country’s radio station, the people of Russia were urged not to be concerned, stressing that President Putin is perfectly fine. One caller asked if Putin’s handshake was firm to which Peskov comment it could break a hand.
Rumors about various country leaders are nothing new. Just this past fall, North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, was said to be sick or dead after being out of the public eye for over a month. As with Putin, images of Jong Un were released to prove that he was fine although walking with the aid of a cane.
Regarding Putin, concerns arose following the postponement of a scheduled meeting in the Kazakh capital of Astana between him and presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan. However, it was confirmed by Peskov that the meeting was only delayed, although no new date was provided.
According to the Kremlin press office, Putin has a planned meeting with Almazbek Atambayev, his Krygyz counterpart, in the city of St. Petersburg. The last time President Putin was seen in public was on International Women’s Day. However, he has attended several meetings since that time, something supported by still images posted on the Kremlin’s website.