Rumors of his demise are likely to be greatly exaggerated
Russian President Vladimir Putin canceled two important meetings with foreign leaders this week, sparking rumors on social media that he was dead. Putin hasn’t been seen in public since March 5, but a Kremlin spokesman saidThursday that he was in good health. Still, Castro-like rumors of his demise continue to circulate, in a half-meme, half-belief stream of weirdness.
Putin death rumors resurface every once in a while, often emerging from anti-Kremlin groups but spurred on by the intense veil of secrecy cloaking Putin’s personal life. The last big spike of Putin illness rumors occurred in October of 2014, when New York tabloids reported he had pancreatic cancer. A Kremlin rep was so angry, he said to the publications, “bite your tongue.”
This Wednesday, an anonymous 4Chan comment (see below tweet) stirred paranoia that said the Russian Embassy in London was in state of high agitation and that staff were fleeing.
Russian radio station Ecko Moskvy nabbed an interview Thursday with presidential administration spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in which he said Putin’s health was so good that his handshake would “break your arm.” So that’s that, then. Putin lives on.