'Missing' since 10 days, Vladimir Putin overthrown in coup?

Where is Vladimir Putin? This is the question that has stirred a hornet's nest in Russia and sparked a flurry of speculations on social media with rumours ranging from him being unwell, ousted in a coup or having travelled to Switzerland to him being dead.

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Mar 15, 2015, 23:39 PM IST
'Missing' since 10 days, Vladimir Putin overthrown in coup?

Moscow: Where is Vladimir Putin? This is the question that has stirred a hornet's nest in Russia and sparked a flurry of speculations on social media with rumours ranging from him being unwell, ousted in a coup or having travelled to Switzerland to him being dead.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has not been seen in public since March 5 and Moscow is abuzz with rumours galore with some even saying that Putin is dead as tweets with hashtag #ПутинУмер (translates to #putindied) were doing the rounds on Twitter.

Netizens were at their creative best while tweeting rumours about Putin's whereabouts with some speculating  he might have gone to fight the ISIS. 

Here are some of them:

 

One of the speculations suggests that the Russian leader may have been overthrown in a coup staged by shoddy security service agents, the Daily Mail reported citing the remarks of Geydar Dzhemal, claimed chairman of the pro-Kremlin national Islamic Committee.

Accusing former Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Nikolai Patrushev of being the mastermind of the plot, Dzhemal said that Putin has been “neutralised” but is still alive.

'I think that Putin is neutralised at the moment, but of course, he is alive,' said Dzhemal according to the Daily Mail.

'He is under the control of the power-wielding agencies, who have, in my opinion, organised a coup d'etat, “he added.

Putin's security chief Mr Zolotov too  is missing and there were reports that he may have been killed. 

Also, a former adviser to Putin has suggested the same in his blog. Andrei Illarionov, Putin's former advisor wrote in his blog post that Putin had fled the country after being overthrown in a coup.

However, according to another theory, Putin might have taken leave to go to Switzerland to see his girlfriend give birth to his child.

Putin's alleged girlfriend - Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva - had reportedly given birth to a baby girl in Switzerland, however, the Kremlin denied the reports.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin is trying its best to quench the rumours, and it also released a video of Putin at work, however it is thought to have been pulled from archives the Kremlin

The website of Russian President meanwhile, continued posting news about Putin going about his normal business.

The presidential website also showed a picture of Putin meeting with President of the Supreme Court Vyacheslav Lebede on 13th March.

The President's Twitter handle also tried to portray business as usual mentioning Putin's scheduled meetings with Leonid Tibilov of South Ossetia on March 18.

The rumours about 62-year-old Putin gone missing comes at a time when Moscow is shocked by murder of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, with many suspecting Kremlin's role in his murder.

Also, Putin's absence comes at a time when Russian economy is plummeting under the burden of sanctions from the US and the European Union after Moscow's alleged role  in eastern Ukraine crisis.

Ukraine says that Russia has been sending troops and weapons to support pro-Russian separatists in their fight against Kiev. The crisis was sparked last year when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine.