The Kremlin was forced to deny growing rumors that President Vladimir Putin had suffered a cardiac arrest just days ago, laughing off claims that he uses body doubles to cover him during public appearances.
“Everything is going well with him, this is definitely another fake rumor,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted today when asked about a report that Putin had suffered a serious health crisis on Sunday evening.
Peskov laughed in response to a new question about body doubles, denying that Putin had them.
“I can tell you there are no lookalikes when it comes to work,” Peskov said.
He added: “Stories like this belong to the category of fake news, which is covered with enviable tenacity by a number of media outlets. This brings nothing but smiles (in the Kremlin).”
It is the second time this year that Peskov has been forced to issue a denial over a swirl of reports about the use of look-alikes, often linked to Putin’s allegedly serious health problems.
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia on Tuesday
But observers have pointed to the Kremlin strongman’s changing appearance over the years as possible evidence that he is using someone else to replace him on assignments he does not want to take on or that he considers too dangerous. The speculation started in June when he took selfies with young girls in Derbent
A recent photo of Putin with Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen republic, showed the Russian president looking bloated and mottled
Peskov emphasized that the president – who has plunged Russia and Ukraine into a grueling war – is fit and well. The rumors amounted to an “absurd hoax,” he said.
Putin, a judo enthusiast who has long cultivated an image of an “action man,” turned 71 on October 7 and rumors of his ill health have circulated for years.
Recently, the channel General SVR Telegram, which regularly claims that Putin is terminally ill and has cancer, claimed that he suffered a ‘cardiac arrest’ on Sunday evening.
The channel said all of the Russian dictator’s recent appearances, including foreign visits, have been by a lookalike or double.
It claimed that doctors resuscitated Putin and that he was taken to a special intensive care unit at his official residence.
“Doctors performed CPR after previously determining that the president was in cardiac arrest,” the channel reported. “Aid was provided in time, the heart was started and Putin regained consciousness.”
The channel is believed to be run by a former Kremlin lieutenant general known by the alias Viktor Mikhailovich. It claims that Putin’s top apparatchiks and security henchmen control the activities of the lookalikes.
In a 2020 interview, Putin denied long-standing rumors that he uses body doubles, although he said he had been offered the opportunity to use one in the past for security reasons.
But observers have pointed to the Kremlin strongman’s changing appearance over the years as possible evidence that he is using someone else to replace him on assignments he does not want to take on or that he considers too dangerous.
The speculation emerged in June when Putin made a surprise visit to the city of Derbent in southern Russia just days after the failed Wagner uprising, with images showing the despot as a Hollywood actor on a red carpet in a night crowds went into hiding.
Seemingly imbued with new energy after averting a small-scale civil war the week earlier, the normally stoic and isolated Putin was unusually personable. He shook hands and planted kisses on the head of a young teenage girl who gushed over him and begged her mother to break. a photo of her with the president.
In another bizarre moment, he shakes hands with – and appears to try on the uniform of – an officer who is presumably carrying his nuclear briefcase.
He has never greeted his security guards in such a manner before.
The scene was a marked departure from the extreme measures of recent years, which imposed strict quarantines on anyone outside Putin’s immediate circle before meeting him.
His transformative behavior – described as “astonishing” by the Kremlin – has led many, including senior Russian figures, to fuel speculation that Putin’s greeting to Dagestan’s adoring fans was in fact a doppelgänger.
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on Tuesday
Putin has not greeted the crowd in such a way since before the pandemic
It comes as rumors continue to swirl about Putin’s ill health.
Russian political analyst Dr. Valery Solovey said last week: “The fact is that current President Vladimir Putin is living the last days of his earthly life.”
Solovey is a former professor at the prestigious Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) in Moscow, a training academy for spies and diplomats.
He promised more statements about Putin’s health on Thursday.
The head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Lieutenant General Kyrylo Budanov, has claimed that the real Putin has not been seen since June 2022.
“The one everyone used to know was last seen around June 26, 2022,” he said last month.
A recent Japanese TV report used AI to analyze Putin’s face, walk and voice in multiple appearances, concluding that he is using one and perhaps two body doubles.
Putin has made trips to Kyrgyzstan and China, and has been extremely active in traveling within Russia.
Last week he visited Perm and held talks with his wartime commander General Valery Gerasimov in Rostov-on-Don after taking a “detour” to visit the military headquarters.
The channel says these are all body doubles who have undergone plastic surgery and been trained for years by Russian secret services to act as Putin replacements.
This week he met with officials in Moscow. Today he met Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, who is also Minister of Trade and Industry.
In April, Peskov admitted that there were many reports of Putin’s doppelgängers, but claimed the warmonger was “megaactive.”
“You may have heard that Putin has several lookalikes who work in his place while he is in a bunker,” he said. ‘These are more lies. This is another lie.
‘You see our president. He is still exactly as he was: mega active.’
Putin has admitted that his aides previously asked him about using body doubles, which was routine for former Kremlin leaders Stalin and Brezhnev. Putin said he rejected the plan.