Everyone in Russia has been worried this week about the health of their fearless leader, Vladimir Putin. The Russian president has been stirring rumors after canceling several meetings and disappearing from the public eye for over a week — a week! Now the Kremlin wants you to know that Putin is fine, guys. Really, stop sending him kitschy "get well soon" cards.
On Friday, the Kremlin released several pictures purportedly showing Putin meeting with Vyacheslav Lebedev, head of Russia's Supreme Court, to quell the growing health rumors. CNN reports that footage of the meeting was even circulated on state-controlled Russian TV, ensuring that word got out about Putin's totally okay health.
Along with the photos, the Kremlin also posted a short transcript of the alleged meeting. However, most U.S. news outlets can't confirm that this meeting actually took place on Friday as stated by the Kremlin — adding to the ongoing drama that's essentially Putin's presidency.
The rumors began after Putin canceled several meetings and events this week — including a ceremony in Moscow to celebrate the official annexing of South Ossetia, a territory located in the South Caucasus. The signing of the South Ossetia treaty was put on hold for unknown reasons for mostly everyone in the Russian delegation.
Putin also postponed a visit to Kazakhstan, with a Kazakh government official telling Reuters that it looked like Putin "has fallen ill." However, The Independent reports that the president's spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, has been making the media rounds to calm the fears of the Russian people. Peskov reportedly told a radio station in Moscow on Thursday that Putin was doing so well at the moment that he could "break your hand." A comment that only a Russian spokesperson would make.
Here are the two photos of Putin the Kremlin released on Friday. The Kremlin states these photos were taken that same day.
So what do you think? Is this the healthy, as strong-as-a-boxer Putin we know? But wait, there's more! While the health rumors were most popular, another conspiracy theory emerged during Putin's prolonged absence from the public eye: He has a love child.
Between the whispers that Putin was sick with the flu or worse, news outlets began speculating that Putin's secret girlfriend, former gymnast Alina Kabaeva, just gave birth to his child. A Swiss newspaper even reported this week that Kabaeva delivered her child in Switzerland, and Putin reportedly traveled there to witness the birth.
The Daily Beast even ran an article on Friday with the headline, "Is Putin in Switzerland for Birth of Secret Love Child?" Other Swiss media has been reporting that Putin was staying with friends in Switzerland and had rented out two rooms at the clinic in Ticino, which sits on the Swiss-Italian border. However, the Kremlin has not confirmed the birth nor Putin's alleged travel to Switzerland.
We will never know where Putin was this last week — or if he's even here at all. Where in the world are you, Putin?
Images: Getty Images, the Kremlin