Russian President Vladimir Putin has put an end to all the rumors about a Kremlin coup, poor health, and even his death. Putin made his first public appearance after 10 days. On Monday, he held talks with Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev in St Petersburg. The 62-year old leader laughed off rumors about his poor health.
Vladimir Putin enjoying the gossip about his health?
Vladimir Putin said Monday that “things would be boring without gossip,” reports RIA Novosti news agency. Rumors about his mysterious disappearance from the public view surfaced on the social media after he canceled two meetings in two days. After cancellation of Putin’s trip to Kazakhstan last week, a Kazakh government official said, “It looks like he has fallen ill.”
Putin’s absence from the public eye was a rare occurrence in Russia, where media is largely state-controlled. Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev also endorsed the Russian President’s good health. Atambayev said Vladimir Putin “drove me around the grounds, he himself sat at the wheel.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has repeatedly said that Putin was in perfectly good health.
Vladimir Putin had not been seen in public since March 5 when he met Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. On Monday, Russian TV news channel Rossiya 24 also showed a footage of the Russian President. Putin maintains a macho, tough-guy image. During his 10-day long disappearance, there were also rumors that Putin’s girlfriend, gymnast-turned-politician Alina Kabayeva, had given birth to a baby at a private clinic in Switzerland, so the macho man was in Switzerland.
Putin orders massive military drills in the Arctic
Before making his public appearance, Vladimir Putin ordered Russian navy to be on full combat readiness in the Arctic region. According to Russian media, snap drills in western Russia involve 38,000 troops, 41 warships, 15 submarines, and more than 100 aircraft.
His re-emergence also coincided with the first anniversary of the referendum held last year over the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula into Russia. Putin revealed Sunday in a TV documentary that Russia was fully prepared to use nuclear weapons against anyone who came in way of Russia’s annexation of Crimea.