Kiev: Was it a flying elbow
during judo practice? A little nip and tuck? Or exhaustion
from too many flights?
Russian and Ukrainian media today speculated
feverishly over what could have caused two dark patches under
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin`s eyes. This was not just
tabloid fodder, even the respected daily Kommersant joined in.
Putin wore heavy makeup at a meeting with Ukraine`s
pro-Russian leadership yesterday, but yellow foundation could
barely cover up bluish, bruise-like blemishes and puffiness on
his cheek bones.
Putin, a confident orator who speaks with enthusiasm
and humour, appeared tired and under the weather in Kiev. His
remarks to the press were brief and he decided to take no
Putin`s spokesman denied there was anything amiss.
"There are no bruises there," Dmitry Peskov told The
Associated Press. "He was just really tired after several
flights and extra meetings. Also, the light may have fallen on
him in an unfortunate manner."
Still, the discolouration of Putin`s face was the talk
of his visit.
"Where does this bruise under the prime minister`s eye
come from?" the Russian newspaper Kommersant inquired. "Could
it be the result of a tough sparring? Carefully retouched but
still noted by everybody."
Putin is a black belt in judo.
The Ukrainian newspaper Levy Bereg was more blunt.
"Did Putin have a facelift?" was the headline on its online
The paper`s story suggested Putin either had plastic
surgery, underwent a complicated dental procedure that left
his face puffy or had an unfortunate judo fight.