A wave of savage mockery broke over President Vladimir Putin across the Internet on Friday, sparked by days of absence from public view, despite official insistence it was business as usual in the Kremlin.
State television footage of Putin working at his residence failed to quell the tide of fantastical theories circulating online that the 62-year-old Kremlin leader had died, been deposed, or travelled to Switzerland to watch his girlfriend give birth.
Ukrainian children produced a cartoon showing Putin abducted from the Kremlin by aliens. here
The hashtag #putinumer (putin died) began trending on Twitter, and a website, putinumer.com, offered readers advice on how to gauge whether the rumours were true.
“Look out the window,” it advised. “Are people rejoicing, dancing, letting off fireworks? No? That means he hasn’t died yet.”
For those old enough to remember Soviet 1.0, this was what used to happen whenever the Commie in-Chief at the time slipped out of public view for a couple of days, followed by the disappointment of learning that Soviet leaders were the only ones in Russia who had access to real doctors.
Vladimir Putin is another thing altogether. The idea of him may live on ruling Russia for decades after he’s actually gone which, per the Russian media, isn’t today.