The Kremlin on Tuesday denied a report that President Vladimir Putin was ill and laughed off persistent rumors that he used body doubles to cover for him in public appearances.
“Everything is fine with him, this is absolutely another fake,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when asked about an unsourced report by a Russian Telegram channel, picked up by some Western media, that the president had suffered a serious health episode on Sunday evening.
The spokesman laughed in response to a further question about body doubles and denied that Putin had any.
“This belongs to the category of absurd information hoaxes that a whole series of media discuss with enviable tenacity. This evokes nothing but a smile,” Peskov said.
Did Vladimir Putin suffer cardiac arrest?
On Monday, General SVR, a Telegram channel that tracks the Kremlin, put out a statement saying Putin suffered a “cardiac arrest” on Sunday evening and that his all recent appearances, including foreign visits, had been carried out by a body double or doubles.
The channel claimed that at about 21:05 Moscow time, security officers of Putin heard noise and sounds of falling coming from the president’s bedroom. Two security officers immediately followed into the president’s bedroom and saw Putin lying on the floor next to the bed and an overturned table with food and drinks, it claimed.
“Probably, when the president fell, he hit the table and dishes and knocked them onto the floor, which caused the noise. Putin convulsively arched while lying on the floor, rolling his eyes. The doctors who were on duty at the residence and located in one of the adjacent rooms were immediately called,” the channel was quoted as saying by UK’s Mirror.
The channel, whose identity is not known but regularly shares updates on the Kremlin, said it repeatedly talked about the deterioration of Putin’s health due to oncology and a number of other diseases. “This case of cardiac arrest seriously alarmed the president’s inner circle, despite the fact that the attending doctors had already warned that Putin was very ill and was unlikely to live until the end of autumn.”
His recent program included a visit to China last week, with stop-offs in two Russian cities on the way back.
In a 2020 interview, Putin denied longstanding rumors that he uses body doubles, although he said he had been offered the chance to use one in the past for security reasons.