Where has Vladimir Putin been? The theories surrounding the Russian President's disappearance

Emma Haslett
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Where's Putin? He's been out of the public eye for 11 days (Source: Getty)

Russian President Vladimir Putin finally made a public appearance this morning, after an 11-day absence.

Putin turned up to a scheduled meeting with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev in St Petersburg - and even took him "for a little drive", according to Atambayev.

But the rumour-mill was working in overdrive during Putin's disappearance/ Here are the three best explanations given for his absence.

1. He was in bed, watching a Crimea documentary

Although the state has yet to say anything about Putin's mysterious whereabouts, Dmitry Peskov, his spokesman, did go on the record yesterday to insist he would be tuning into a documentary about Crimea broadcast on state-owned channel Rossiya 24 last night.

That was after opposition TV station Dozhd said he had come down with the flu, and that he'd been in bed. To be fair, after all that bare-chested horse riding, he was bound to catch a cold...

2. He's had a baby

Swiss newspaper Blick broke the felicitous news last week that Putin's alleged girlfriend, former gymnast and State Duma deputy Alina Kabaeva, had given birth to his child, in secret, in Switzerland.

Alas, Peskov seemed keen to dispel that myth. "Not true," he told Forbes Russia. "I am planning to appeal to people who have money to organise a competition for the best journalistic hoax." No mini-Putins for the time being, then.

3. He's been "neutralised" by a secret coup

The target of most coup-ists tends to be to make their victory known asap, but not the ones who allegedly "neutralised" Putin, according to Russian bloggers, but seemed surprisingly reluctant about letting the Russian people know.

The rumour started because of a convoy of trucks parked outside the Kremlin over the weekend - although it's likely they're associated with nationalists celebrating the first anniversary of Crimea's glorious liberation. The rumour also stated that Putin is "alive", though - so at least there was some good news.

--- UPDATE: This article was updated after Putin showed up to his meeting with Atambayev, thereby putting an end to his mysterious disappearance...

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