Russian leader reappears

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“Russians, including Putin opponents, are as worried about his week-long absence as kids would be if their father had wandered off somewhere and not come back for days. They watch the Kremlin website with a mixture of distrust, apprehension and hope, wondering how, or whether, the steep pyramid of power Putin has built over the years can function without him at the top,” Russian journalist Leonid Bershidsky said in ‘Bloomberg View’. “If that is not a sign that Putin has become a fully-fledged dictator in the nation’s collective mind, what is?”

Anthony Popenoe, Staff Writer

President Vladimir Putin of Russia resurfaced on March 16 after inexplicably disappearing for 10 days.

“It would be boring without gossip,” Putin, a man known for his constant media presence in Russia, said according to ‘Reuters’ in his first public appearance since March 5.

The Russian leader’s disappearance sparked dozens of rumors on his whereabouts. Speculations ranged from Putin being seriously ill to him visiting an illegitimate child he had with a lover.

“Vladimir Vladimirovich showed me around, drove around, he himself was at the wheel — so that there will be less gossip,” Kyrgyzstani president Almazbek Atambayev said according to ‘Washington Post’, praising the 62-year old leader’s good health.

“So you’ve seen the broken, paralyzed president, who has been captured by generals? He’s only just flown in from Switzerland, where he attended a birth as you know,” Putin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in ‘NPR’, making fun of the theories.

Putin’s disappearance came on the heels of the murder of an opposition party leader outside the Russian government headquarters in Moscow, which has further fueled questions on where Putin really was during those 10 days.