Putin visits southern military district HQ in Rostov-on-Don
Footage appearing to show Vladimir Putin bizarrely forgetting the wrist he typically wears his watch on has fuelled a frenzy of “body double” rumours.
The Russian president made the puzzling blunder during a Russian Council for Strategic Development and National Projects meeting this week.
He was caught accidentally glancing at his left wrist to check the time, only to find nothing there. Putin appeared confused by his mistake before quickly looking at his other wrist to cover up his error.
The ruthless leader normally wears his wrist on his right arm. He has been quoted by state media as saying that he wears a watch on his right hand out of habit as he is left-handed.
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Now, body double rumours have exploded.
The General SVR Telegram channel has repeatedly claimed that Putin is in poor health and permanently relies on a doppelgänger to stand in for his public appearances.
The channel pointed out Putin’s latest gaffe and claimed the body double seemingly forgot which arm he normally wears his watch on.
It posted: “Having read out a voluminous speech…the understudy frankly got bored.”
The channel added that the lookalike wanted to “create the appearance of active work, diligently wielding a pen, writing down some nonsense on his papers” and by making “squiggles while not forgetting to cough and grunt imitating the president”.
It added: “But at about 55 minutes, the understudy had an embarrassment.
“The double completely forgot that Putin wears a watch on his right hand and, out of habit raised his left hand to check the time.
“Not finding a watch there, [he] embarrassedly lowered it.”
Putin has been afflicted by several health issues in the last 12 months, according to various sources from the Kremlin.
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They range from small ailments such as temporarily blurred vision to greater concernssuch as nervous breakdowns.
The first health claims post-invasion came early in 2022 when it was said that Putin was suffering from cancer.
General SVR claims to have inside knowledge of Putin’s situation.
Last month, it recalled an alleged incident in which Putin had a manic episode after being prescribed a new medicine for his cancer treatment.
Meanwhile, Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s military intelligence agency GUR, claimed back in June that Putin uses doppelgängers to stand in for him at certain events.
He said: “Putin uses doubles. This is a fact that is based both on operative intelligence and on the assessments of physiognomists and many other specialists.”
The Kremlin has denied allegations that Putin is sick.
Dmitri Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, called all of the reports and suggestions “fabrication(s) and untruth(s)”.
But Putin has on several occasions disappeared from public view for days or weeks, only to return without an explanation and as if nothing had happened, fuelling rumours and speculation.
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