Vladimir Putin to reappear in public after a 10-day absence
Putin was last seen in public on March 5 at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to reappear in public on Monday, after an unusually long 10-day absence that unleashed frenzied speculation about his whereabouts and health. However, a Kremlin official confirmed that Putin’s meeting with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev in Saint Petersburg later on Monday was going to take place as scheduled.
Putin, 62, was last seen in public on March 5 at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Last week he cancelled a number of scheduled events, including a trip to the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan and the planned signing of an alliance agreement with the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
His unusually long absence from the public eye has unleashed a frenzy of speculation on the reasons for the absence, including that the Russian leader has once again become a father, has been deposed in a palace coup, fallen ill, had cosmetic surgery, or had died.
Morbid jokes and gags spread like wildfire on Russian social networks – the last bastion of free speech in Russia, and the hashtag #PutinUmer (#PutinDead) trended on Twitter. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin was in good health, dismissing the rumours as “March madness.”
Quoting sources, Independent internet TV channel Dozhd (Rain) said on Sunday, that the Russian President had been knocked down by the flu and retreated to his residence on Lake Valdai in the North.
This week, Russia marks the one-year anniversary of a hastily-arranged referendum in Crimea that led to Russia annexing the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine. Putin said in a documentary broadcast on Sunday that Russia was ready to put its nuclear forces on alert over Crimea.
Source:: Indian Express