Over the weekend, everyone from NBCNews to ESPN had a theory on what was happening with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had, until today, been out of the public eye for slightly over a week. According to rumor, there was a coup, he was dead or seriously injured, possibly witnessing the birth of his love child in Switzerland, or the victim of botched plastic surgery.
Sadly enough, especially regarding that botched plastic surgery thing (uggggh, a facelift-gone-wrong would have been amaaaaazing for traffic), Vladimir Putin emerged today for a very public meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi looking as fresh faced as a daisy, and if undead, perhaps the most normal-looking undead person in history.
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.
The most reasonable excuse for his absence is, of course, that he was dropped off in a pit somewhere in Siberia and left to fight his way out, Batman style, subduing angry natives, polar bears and an irate Al Gore, until finally, he emerged victorious and awarded himself a certificate of excellence.
Less likely, Putin pulled a “Hillary Clinton,” laying low for a full week following a scandal (in his case, the shooting death of Boris Nemtsov, a powerful political enemy), only to emerge at a press conference with a list of notecards, a brand new designer suit, and a can-do attitude.
Either way, he’s back, having not had a facelift. Sad.
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