The Russian government has found itself compelled to publicly dismiss speculations about the demise of President Vladimir Putin. These rumors emerged on the messaging platform Telegram, via a channel known as General SVR, which has persistently claimed that Putin was severely ill.
According to the online report, an attempted coup was supposedly unfolding in Russia. It asserted that President Putin had passed away at his Valdai residence, with doctors ceasing resuscitation and confirming his death at 20:42 Moscow time.
The report also claimed that the doctors were allegedly detained in the room with Putin’s body by members of the presidential security service, acting on the personal orders of Dmitry Kochnev, the director of the Federal Guard Service. Kochnev was said to be receiving instructions from Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the security council of the Russian Federation. The report further contended that security measures for the president’s double had been heightened, and negotiations were actively taking place.
A spokesperson swiftly denounced this report as an “absurd information canard.” Persistent rumors of Putin’s ill health and the use of body doubles have circulated for some time, even gaining some support from Japanese AI research.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesperson, emphasized that there were no body doubles involved in official work. He firmly rejected the claims, saying, “I can tell you there are no doubles when it comes to work and so on.”
While General SVR has maintained for months that Putin was suffering from various health conditions, including recent allegations of a heart attack, Peskov dismissed these stories as “fake news.” He also noted that such stories were received with amusement in the Kremlin.
It has been suggested that Nikolai Patrushev, a key intelligence adviser to Putin, might be in line to succeed him. However, there is speculation that Patrushev may also have aspirations for his son, Dmitry Patrushev, who serves as the agriculture minister.
The ongoing power struggles within the Russian leadership have added fuel to these rumours, particularly as Russia continues its conflict with Ukraine. However, as of now, there is no concrete evidence to support the claim that Putin is deceased, and the Kremlin maintains that he is alive and well.