Vladimir Putin Reappears In Public After Ten Day Absence

Vladimir Putin Sunglasses

After  not being seen in public for nearly two weeks, which led to rumors of everything from health problems, to a coup attempt, to his becoming a father, Vladimr Putin appeared in public and seemed to put those rumors to rest:

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — Russian President Vladimir Putin resurfaced Monday, smiling and looking his normal self after a 10-day absence from public view that fueled a wave of rumors about his health.

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, who met with Putin in St. Petersburg’s ornate Konstantin Palace on Monday, referred to the swirling speculation about Putin by noting that the Russian leader was in good shape. He said Putin drove him around the palace’s park before the talks, adding that “the president of Russia not only walks, but speeds around.”

“It would be dull without gossip,” Putin retorted with a smile.

The 62-year-old Russian leader was last seen in public on March 5, when he hosted Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The Kremlin insisted that he continued holding official meetings after that, and released photos and video of Putin at meetings on national television, but Russian media suggested the images had actually been shot much earlier.

Putin’s decision to abruptly postpone a trip to Kazakhstan planned for last week fueled speculation that he was unwell or isolated by a palace coup. A Swiss newspaper claimed that Putin had traveled to Switzerland, where it said his reported girlfriend — former Olympic gold-winning gymnast Alina Kabayeva — had given birth to their baby. The Kremlin has denied all those allegations.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov greeted reporters Monday with sarcastic remarks: “So, have you seen the president paralyzed and seized by the generals? He has just come back from Switzerland, where he attended the delivery.”

Asked if Putin’s condition required treatment by an osteopath, the spokesman retorted: “Yes, the osteopath was with the generals.”

The sarcastic comments appeared to reflect the Kremlin’s dismay with the rumors and its inability to stop them. On a more serious note, Peskov added that the Kremlin has grown tired of refuting speculation about Putin’s condition.

“The more we talk about it, the more intense (the speculation) becomes,” he said.

In today’s media age, Putin’s disappearance was odd, and it brought back memories of the 1980s when Soviet leaders were seldom seen in public for what we would later learn are serious health problems. Based on the footage from today, it doesn’t appear that there was anything seriously wrong with Putin — perhaps he just had the flu — but the fact that the speculation returned to that kind of Soviet-era paranoia says a lot about the kind of world Putin has created in Moscow.

Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Barfour says:

    Bad news. There was speculation that he might be dead or overthrown in a coup. I was hoping that it might be true and that Russia will have an opportunity for change like Yugoslavia had in 2000, when Milosevic was forced to leave. I know that it is really not good to wish for someone’s death or for any harm to come to them, and if Putin was really gone, it is not necessary that whoever replaced him would be any better. But, sometimes you have to take change however it presents itself and whatever risks comes with it. Russia needs change.

  2. Electroman says:

    To be honest, there is a part of me that was hoping this was a “Russian cold”.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    I heard he crossed the Bering Strait and was on a ten-day bender with Sarah Palin and her clan.

  4. Liberal Capitalist says:

    … is he about to do the Rex Kramer bit from “Airplane !” ?


  5. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    He can see them having a kegger from Russia.

  6. Gustopher says:

    I look forward to the very manly photos from his vacation, which will demonstrate how very manly he is. Shirtless, wrestling a polar bear. Charging down a male caribou and head butting it into submission for control of the females in the herd. Something like that.

    Or the eventual photos of him in bed with a gogo boy.

    I mean, he is way, way overcompensating.

  7. RGardner says:

    I heard that he wasn’t even on the planet, he was consulting with his reptilian space alien advisers.

  8. Mikey says:

    You think that’s really Putin?

    How do we know it’s not his pod-person, or his doppelgaenger, or an android? How do we know the real Putin isn’t dead?

    They may have done it with Paul McCartney and he was one of the Beatles. Putin is (was?) just the leader of one country, Paul is (was?) a great musician beloved in all countries.

    Inquiring minds want to know…

  9. Tyrell says:

    This is interesting : today it was announced that the Russian military is on full alert.

  10. CSK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    Maybe he picked a bad day to quit sniffing glue.

  11. de stijl says:

    After not being seen in public for nearly two weeks, which led to rumors of everything

    Putin was just taking a hike on the Apparatchik Trail.

  12. Gustopher says:

    @Gustopher: Actually, maybe it won’t be pictures of Putin with a gogo boy… It might just be a boy.


    Anyway, that is my revised guess as to where Putin has been. Off kissing six year old boys on the belly, because he’s the leader of Russia, his power is absolute, and he can have all the witnesses killed if he wants to.

  13. de stijl says:

    I may have been overly hasty, but I still stand by my original reporting. Putin was mostly hiking the Apparatchik Trail.

    If the photographic evidence is to believed, he may have removed his shirt and manfully persuaded a willing beast to help him ford an especially treacherous river. There is no shame in this.


  14. de stijl says:


    Sometimes a prepubescent tummy kiss is just a prepubescent tummy kiss. There is nothing weird about that at all, Freud be damned.

    Can someone tell me again how Republicans thought that Putin was a manly man who was a strong manly leader who was manfully cleaning Obama’s totally girly clock? I thought that super-aggro, take-no-prisoners, belligerent nationalism was the sine qua non of manfully manly leaderliship.

  15. dmhlt says:

    I was worried until friends vacationing in Paris told me they spotted Vladimir swimming laps in the rooftop pool of their expensive, exclusive hotel. They texted me that it was …

    Putin on the Ritz