There are times that The New Nationalist feels compelled to ask a question. Case in point is the question of Russian President Valdimir Putin. Are we seeing the real McCoy in 2017? This is not to be resolved by a flurry of Reddit-type, up-and-down, disbelief votes, as frankly even we aren’t sure how we would weigh in. Some aspects don’t quite pass our smell test. So we thought at least a cursory examination is required. This is an open discussion. Come out of your little boxes. By all means debunk it, if you have a counter case. We’re just askin’.
In March 2014 right after Crimea was re-united with Russia, a change in Putin came about. In April 2014, the Kremlin confirmed that Putin’s divorce with Lyudmila Putina, his wife of 31 years, had been finalized. Lyudmila immediately dropped from the scene. Ever since, Putin has appeared at public events, such as church masses, alone. There is a story going around that Lyudmila did an interview with German newspaper Die Welt during which she declared that her ex-husband was dead. However, if the story was ever at Die Welt, it’s no longer online. Whether the interview ever happened or if it has been scrubbed is not known.
There is also the unlikely story that Putin decided to have plastic surgery on his youthful face. This narrative is particularly absurd. If true, however, this plastic surgery has resulted in a puffier, softer-looking man. Indeed, new Putin looks more than a bit botoxed. Here are Putin’s photos taken six months apart. The head shape has gone from strong oval to more upside-down pear-shaped. You should be demanding a refund from that plastic surgeon, Mr. Putin. Now, it’s true that running a doppelganger operation as cover for real leaders is standard commonplace for security reasons, but for official functions?
Then there is the question of his fluent ability to speak German, picked up in his days of KGB service in East Germany. The photo on the left shows Putin conversing without a translator with Angela Merkel in 2013. In next photo in 2015, all of a sudden Putin needs a translator.
There are other photos of Merkel and Putin hanging together in the spectators seats of the World Cup. This one throws the timing of the new Putin off as he is shown conversing comfortably with Merkel without a translator at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on July 13, 2014. This also looks like the more youthful-appearing Putin with whom we are familiar.
What also peaks our interest is that speculation within Russia about the real Putin is suppressed in the western lugenpresse in a doth-protest-too-loudly manner. My radar always goes up when I hear the (ha ha) “conspiracy theory” narrative.
Do an open-source search for “Vladimir Putin disappears” and it is remarkable how many separate stories turn up. It started in early March 2014, as Putin went missing for 10 days and then reappeared. Here is an account of Putin no-shows at scheduled events in early 2016.
Photographs that officials offered to prove Mr. Putin was working as normal were discredited by local media, which reported they had been taken days earlier, before his disappearance.
One of Putin’s allies, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, fuelled rumours of division in the corridors of power when he wrote on Instagram: “I am devoted to (Putin) as a person. And this is regardless of whether he is in his position or not!”
Geydar Dzhemal, chairman of Russia’s Islamic Committee, claimed a former security service chief was behind a plot. “I think that Putin is neutralised at the moment, but of course, he is alive,” he told Georgian television station Rustavi-2. “He is under the control of the power-wielding agencies, who have, in my opinion, organised a coup d’etat.”
Then we have the narrative of going to Switzerland to deal with a love child when Putin disappeared for 10 days in March 2015. At the time, the rumors were bad health. This is a possibility given Putin’s diminished-looking appearance. In a bid to combat rumors of Putin’s failing health, the Kremlin released the video below showing the Russian leader holding a meeting — but the footage wasn’t live and the Kremlin did not tell the Associated Press when the meeting had taken place. I don’t speak Russian but have a friend who does, and I asked her to evaluate it. She said he is mumbling and slurring his speech – not really at the top of his game.
Regardless of the reason for the disappearances, different behaviors and changing appearance, it seems the usual suspects are priming for closure. The new narrative is that Putin — or who ever is representing him — will be stepping down. We don’t get the memos, but something is rotten in Denmark. Putin has even responded to rumors of his own death. He told The Guardian: “Life would be boring without gossip.”
TNN Takewawy: Despite the oddities, we hesitate to go full Putin is dead conspiracy on this. There is probably a more human side story to it. Putin is now 65, and in reality he is hitting the wall like all of us eventually do. It is harder to maintain his superman Paul Bunyan judo persona. Expectations are high, especially in Russia.
After a couple decades of constant stress maybe he wants to kick back with double Vodka martinis and catch up on House of Cards. He may be alive, but sitting on the bench more, and in fact alot more. Thus he has continual health, personal, image and time management challenges. Doppelgangers can be used to fill in. It would seem Russia has a good one.
Some yucked it up when we suggested Hillary was using a double after her stumbling collapse incident in NYC during the election. But that one was obvious. Further, doubles and fake personas are not “conspiracy theories”, they are well established truths throughout history. TNN just proposes they are more common than most realize. It’s presence may however signal the need for a regime transition, if it hasn’t happened already.