And he's baaaacccck. But where has the Russian President been?

Missing: One Russian President: Likes judo, bare chested horse back riding and attempting to intimidate the western world.

And just like that he is back. After 10 days of rumours about where Russian President Vladimir Putin has been the man responsible for tough anti-gay laws and the rise of extreme homophobia in Russia has reappeared.

Overnight video of the international man of mystery appeared, a glowing Russian President meeting at Konstantinovsky Palace in St Petersburg with Almazbek Atambayev, the president of Kyrgyzstan.

Being the Russian President he decided not to actually answer any questions about his 10 way whereabouts – instead saying “It would be boring without the gossip.”

President Atambayev told the media that there was nothing wrong with Mr Putin’s health. “Vladimir Vladimirovich just drove me around the grounds,” he told the media “He was behind the wheel himself.”

So he can drive, but where has he been?

Mr Putin had not been seen in public since a press conference a week and a half ago with the Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi. His 10-day absence promoted worldwide speculation about whether he was sick, dead, a victim of botched plastic surgery, or meeting a love child in Italy.

It began last Wednesday when the President cancelled a summit he had been due to attend in Astana, Kazakhstan.

His spokesman was forced to deny claims that his boss was sick. Instead Dmitry Peskov said that Mr Putin’s health was still so good his handshake “breaks hands”.

Peskov told Russian media that Putin simply had a busy schedule of meetings, not all of which are public, but that his health is “all right”.

The presidential website published photographs of Mr Putin holding meeting in the Kremlin, but no one believed them –local media reporting that the meetings had actually happened the week before.

And thus it began. The rumour mill began to spin.

On Friday, Russian television channels showed Putin speaking to the president of the Supreme Court but there was no way that footage was new; it was weeks old said the whispers.

So where was he?


Social media used the hashtag v #ПутинУмер (“Putin is dead”) speculating that the “very robust” Russian president was robust no longer.

 Botched cosmetic surgery?

Did the President under go the knife.. and was all not well? He’s been there before. The Independent reports that in 2010, he arrived at a press conference in Ukraine with heavy make-up over what appeared to be dark bruising around his left eye.


It was just poor lighting  cried his PR machine… but the Russian media revealed it was Botox bruising.

 Had he been shirt-fronted by Tony Abbott?

When our PM first promised the shirt-front the Russian leader the Russians responded that their man was indeed an expert at Judo, but has Mr Abbott secretly been working on his moves. HAs Mr Abbott, buoyed by surviving a local coup decided to stage an international one?

Had the shirt-front finally taken place?

 Visiting his love child?

A Swiss tabloid Blick first began the whispers that Mr Putin wasn’t sick at all, he was in fact visiting his love child. A daughter had been born in secret in Lugano to a secret girlfriend, gymnast Alina Kabaeva.

Putin: Happy new father, not ill?” read the headline. The Kremlin hosed down the speculation, but not all are convinced.

He’s been deposed?

The Daily Mail speculated that that Putin was “‘alive’ but neutralised’”, with security chiefs taking over. Sounds viable..

Did the Americans’ know?

Cause surely they know everything right?

“So, can you give us any information the United States has about President Putin’s whereabouts, whether our President has been briefed on questions about the fact that he hasn’t been seen in the past week and whether he may be ill or worse?“ One reporter asked White House spokesman Eric Schultz last week.

“I have enough trouble keeping track of the whereabouts of one world leader. I would refer you to the Russians for questions on theirs. I’m sure they’ll be very responsive.” Was Mr Schultz’s reply.

Was it just the flu?

Is the Russian President actually just an old dude with a relatively normal immune system? Russian news channel TV Rain reported that in fact he just had a bad case of the sniffles and had gone into hiding with some Vicks, a box of tissues and was binge watching of Home of Cards or  “in bed with a bad cold watching a Crimea documentary” as The Telegraph reported.

So while the Russian president seems to have emerged unscathed from whatever dalliance he undertook his absence has shown the very real weakness there is the Russian State,

The Brookings Institution’s Hannah Thoburn told that the rumours “get to the problem with having only one central figure” in the Russian government. “

She said that if the US president or the German chancellor were to suddenly get sick, there would be other means of “succession and other instruments of government to fill that void while a replacement was found. But in Russia right now, you don’t have that. That does expose a certain fragility in the system that scares Russians a little bit.”