Well, they can’t say he’s got a cold, can they?

Rumours are swirling in Moscow over the health of Vladimir Putin after the Russian president disappeared from view and put off a foreign visit.

Mr Putin has not been seen in public for a week and an official in Kazakhstan told reporters that he postponed a visit to the central Asian country on Wednesday because he had fallen ill. He will also not appear at an annual meeting of high-ranking officers from the Federal Security Service on Thursday, which he has attended in past years.

For that would rather tip off the Russians. Who do remember that Brezhnev “had a cold” for some years as he died of Alzheimer’s and emphesymia.

One rumour I’ve heard (value uncertain) is that he’s had a stroke.

15 thoughts on “Well, they can’t say he’s got a cold, can they?”

  1. Natural causes could do the world a huge favour. Hope he doesn’t go on as long as Mugabe.

  2. As has been noted elsewhere, it is yet more proof that Russia is well on the road to reverting back to a tin-pot dictatorship: populations of normal countries don’t start predicting ensuing chaos and start panicking when the President or PM disappears for a couple of days. Mainly because in normal countries the President or PM doesn’t disappear for a couple of days, ever.

  3. TN
    Eden? Mitterand? And the Alzheimer’s may have been apparent to Wislon’s and Reagan’s staff well before they left office.

    There is something homoerotic about the publicity shots, isn’t there? And like Keynes he married a ballerina.

    Best result would be a partial recovery which left him clearly physically and mentally unfit. A stroke would do nicely.
    The Russians reckon he’s so corrupt he’ll have to die in the Kremlin. But if he could be levered out there’s a chance he could be tried for his crimes.

  4. Eden? Mitterand? And the Alzheimer’s may have been apparent to Wislon’s and Reagan’s staff well before they left office.

    Leaders falling ill is fine. As is a cover-up, sometimes (see Roosevelt’s polio, for example).

    But a combination of outright disappearance, obvious lying, and an extremely nervous population expecting chaos is unique to tin-pot regimes. If any western European leader dropped dead tomorrow, everything would carry on much as before. If Putin drops dead, the uncertainties range from the safety of Russia’s nukes to whether the people running Moscow’s power stations will get paid.

  5. I think the closest thing to that kind of disappearance in Western polities is Woodrow Wilson when he had his stroke.

    Of course, if you’re talking literal disappearance, there’s always Harold Holt, who went for a swim and vanished, presumed drowned. He’s remembered in true Australian fashion by the Harold Holt Memorial Swimming Centre.

  6. ML
    One shouldn’t laugh, but it would take a heart of tofu not to.

    Meanwhile they’ve released a photo of him in the Kremlin today. So we can all stand down.
    Except, if you look carefully, his reflection is not in the mirror behind him, and he’s holding his pen in his right hand, etc

  7. Nonono, he’s not ill. He just had an accident with some eyeliner and lip-gloss that wouldn’t come off after the weekend.

  8. There are those who suspect that Hellary Clinton had a stroke a while back – they refer to the inordinate length of her hospital stay after she took a tumble. Oddly, there are rumours of homosexuality about her too. If only she and Putin would elope together, they could be put to bed. The rumours, I mean.

  9. So Much for Subtlety

    The Left likes to believe in the Blank Slate, but actually it seems to be taking a knock on so many fronts. Now it seems to be shown up as wrong by the fact that entire nations spontaneously revert to their historical pasts. It seems that the Essentialists were right and no one can escape their past. So just as Iraqis have ignored democracy, socialism, Arab nationalism, in fact the entire modern world, for mediaeval theocratic blood feuds, so too have the Russians reverted to type.

    Autocracy tempered by assassinations. I think he is dead.

    They had a choice and could have opted for freedom and Western-style liberal democracy. But they chose the knout.

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