In a startling revelation, Ukraine’s military intelligence chief, Major-General Kyrylo Budanov, has raised concerns about the prolonged absence of the “real” Vladimir Putin from public view. Budanov has suggested that Putin might not have been seen in public for over a year, and his statements have triggered a wave of speculations and questions about the Russian president’s whereabouts and well-being.
Claims of Doppelgängers
Budanov, known for spearheading drone strikes and undercover operations against Russia, has doubled down on his earlier claims that Putin could be using one or more doppelgängers to make public appearances in his place. He candidly admitted that he does not possess definitive information about Putin’s current status, stating, “The one, who everyone used to know, was last seen around 26 June 2022.”
Uncertainty Shrouds Putin’s Fate
During a recent interview, Budanov was pressed to provide clarity regarding Putin’s situation, to which he responded, “So he is either not alive, or else he is in a really bad health state? Or he doesn’t want to appear. There might be so many different reasons.” He pointed to a peculiar incident involving a recent video in which Putin was observed looking at his watch on the wrong wrist, contrary to his known habit of wearing it on his right wrist.
The Enigma Persists
When asked if the person in the video was the real Putin, Budanov left it open-ended, stating, “Let’s leave it to everyone [to decide], so everyone leaves it to their own fantasy.” This sentiment was echoed by a TV presenter who believed it was a body double and not the authentic Putin. The military intelligence chief, however, remained elusive when asked directly if Putin is alive, responding, “I don’t know what to answer you.”
Past Instances and Security Concerns
It’s worth noting that Putin has previously admitted that his aides proposed the use of body doubles, similar to historical leaders like Stalin and Brezhnev, but claimed to have rejected the idea. Nevertheless, he has maintained a strong focus on his personal security. On the date mentioned by Budanov (June 26, 2022), there were reports of Putin making a late-night dash to the Kremlin shortly after midnight, following talks with Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko. This visit was followed by Russian warplanes utilizing Belarus airspace for bombardments on Ukrainian cities.
The Ongoing Speculation
Rumors surrounding Putin’s use of body doubles have persisted, often intertwined with theories about his health. Some have observed instances of Putin practicing social distancing, potentially indicating health issues, while others have noted him engaging with crowds without such precautions. These observations have fueled suspicions of dual Putins.
The intrigue deepens as various narratives emerge regarding Putin’s health and the use of body doubles. While some analysts, like political analyst Dr. Valery Solovey, have asserted that Putin uses a double for public appearances, others have challenged these claims. Solovey went as far as suggesting that Putin’s health might prevent him from participating in the presidential election scheduled for March 2024.
A Murky Future
As the debate rages on, and with conflicting reports and speculations swirling around the Russian president, the mystery of Vladimir Putin’s public absence continues to captivate global attention. The world watches with keen interest as questions about his well-being, the use of doppelgängers, and the future of Russian leadership remain unanswered.