Putin puts an end to rumors
Updated: 2015-03-17 07:56
By Agencies(China Daily)
Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed days of frenzied rumors over his health and whereabouts on Monday when he appeared in public after an unusually long 10-day absence.
"We would be bored if there were no rumors," Putin said at a meeting with Kyrgyzstan's President Almazbek Atambayev at the Konstantinov Palace just outside St. Petersburg.
Atambayev said his Russian host had driven him around the palace before the meeting.
The Russian leader, 62, was last seen in public on March 5 at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Last week, he canceled a number of scheduled events, including a trip to Kazakhstan.
His unusual absence from the public eye set the Internet abuzz with rumors that he was sick, had died, had been deposed in a coup or had once again become a father.
His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, was forced to fend off countless questions about each rumor, which he dismissed as "March madness".
"So, everyone has now seen the paralyzed president captured by a general who has just returned from Switzerland where he was delivering a baby?" he asked sarcastically.
A Kremlin statement said that Putin will visit Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on Friday to attend a summit of the leaders of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.
The RIA news agency quoted the Russian defense minister on Monday as saying that Putin ordered the Russian Navy's Northern Fleet and paratrooper units to go on full alert as part of snap military exercises in the Arctic.
AFP - Xinhua - Reuters
(China Daily 03/17/2015 page1)