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March 13, 2015

Rumor: Vladimir Putin Is Dead

Just a rumor. But he has not been seen in a week, and other ranking party members have had to declare "Oh he's fine, he's just not here" on a couple of occasions.

Putin is usually omnipresent in the press--declaring war on Ukraine, denying he's declared war on Ukraine, strangling elk.

A one week absence is strange, and somehow tender.

Is Vladimir Putin dead?

Who knows?

Whatís clear is that something has been going on in Moscow for at least a week, and whatever it is, the Kremlin prefers that it remain a secret. Russian reporters -- a vastly more intrepid and courageous group than their colleagues in most countries -- have been razzing Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov by alluding to Boris Yeltsin's famous disappearances, and Peskov, usually an able front man, seems a bit wrong-footed at the moment.

Rumors abound: Putin has been removed, Putin has cancer, Putin had a stroke, Putinís girlfriend had a baby.... The hashtag "Putin has died" is trending like crazy on Russian twitter, but that means exactly zip in a country that thrives on conspiracy theories.

There are darker rumors as well: Putin is hunkering down with his high command and preparing something awful, either for the West in the form of all-out war in Ukraine, or for his own people as he goes to the mattresses as part of intra-Kremlin warfare after the shocking murder of Boris Nemtsov....

If I had to bet, I'd say Putin is ill, and perhaps gravely so, and the white noise coming out of the Kremlin represents a kind of holding pattern while everyone sorts out favors, bribes, threats, and all the other ugly stuff that goes with a Moscow succession.


Did Putin finally scare the people around him so badly -- with loose talk, for example, about nuclear weapons -- that they've removed him before he gets them all killed and turns Russia into a wasteland? I find that doubtful....

Other speculations at the post.

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posted by Ace at 08:20 PM

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