The Kremlin on Tuesday denied reports that Vladimir Putin had a heart attack at the weekend — and dismissed persistent rumors that the Russian president uses body doubles to hide his ill health as an “absurd” hoax.
The denial came after the Telegram channel General SVR, which purports to be run by a former Russian intelligence officer, claimed that Putin collapsed in his bedroom at his Moscow residence Sunday night.
The Russian leader, who turned 71 on Oct. 7, was described as being found by his security detail “twisted convulsively on the floor rolling his eyes.”
Medics who were on duty at the apartment determined that Putin “had suffered a cardiac arrest” but were able to resuscitate him, the Telegram channel claimed.
Putin’s doctors warned that he is “very ill and unlikely to survive until the end of the fall,” the report claimed.
The channel also claimed that Putin has been using a body double to stand in for him at all official meetings and functions to hide his deteriorating health, a rumor made numerous times before.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed any concerns over the president’s health.
“Everything is fine with him, this is absolutely another fake,” he told reporters Tuesday.
As for rumors that Putin uses body doubles to hide his ill health, “This belongs to the category of absurd information hoaxes that a whole series of media discuss with enviable tenacity,” Peskov insisted.
“This evokes nothing but a smile.”
Putin traveled to China last week to attend an international summit in Beijing. On his way back home, the president made a stop in the Urals city of Perm, where he was photographed meeting with boxing and kickboxing athletes.
In a 2020 interview, Putin denied rumors that he has body doubles, although he said he had been offered the chance to use one in the past for security reasons.
According to General SVR’s recent report, which has been picked up by several Western outlets, after his latest health scare Putin was installed in a bedroom featuring cutting-edge medical equipment.
“The president’s condition has been stabilized. He is under constant medical supervision,” the channel claimed.
The cardiac arrest has raised concerns among members of Putin’s inner circle, some of whom allegedly agreed to have a meeting about “possible actions to be taken if the president dies in the coming days.”
The Telegram channel has repeatedly claimed that Putin suffers from a host of serious and potentially terminal ailments, including cancer affecting his stomach and bowels, and Parkinson’s disease.
Last year, the outlet reported that the Russian leader fell down a short flight of stairs and soiled himself after landing on his tailbone — a claim the Kremlin later denied.
Since the start of the war with Ukraine, Putin has appeared weak and unsteady on multiple occasions. He has been seen convulsively gripping the side of a table or seemingly involuntarily jerking his feet while in public.