Date
23 November 2017
Vladimir Putin's most recent broadcast appearance was in a prerecorded documentary Sunday on Russia's annexation of Crimea last year. Photo: AFP
Vladimir Putin's most recent broadcast appearance was in a prerecorded documentary Sunday on Russia's annexation of Crimea last year. Photo: AFP

Where’s Vladimir? Rumors swirl over Putin disappearance

Russian President Vladimir Putin has not been seen in public or on live television broadcasts for more than a week, giving rise to a swirl of rumors in Moscow as to his whereabouts.

The president was at his residence on Lake Valdai in Novgorod province, Dozhd, an independent news outlet said Sunday, citing unnamed sourced.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment when contacted by Dozhd.

Putin postponed a meeting with Kazakh and Belarussian leaders last week.

A Kazakh government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters Putin may have canceled the summit because of illness. 

Putin’s silence in the past week has fueled feverish speculation on everything from the state of his health to his grip on power and whether he went to Switzerland to watch his alleged girlfriend, gymnast-turned-lawmaker Albina Kabaeva, give birth.

The Kremlin has denied the rumors.

Meanwhile, Putin said in a prerecorded documentary aired Sunday that Moscow had been ready to put its nuclear forces on alert in support of Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last year.

He said Russia had saved the life of Ukraine’s former pro-Moscow president, Viktor Yanukovich, who Putin said had been in danger after ‘revolutionaries’ seized power following weeks of violent street protests in Kiev last year.

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