The Kremlin laughed off persistent claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been using a body double, Breitbart reported. Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, called it one of several "absurd information hoaxes" when asked about the rumor Tuesday.
Recently, reports have emerged that Putin has been using a body double after being incapacitated by a stroke or cardiac arrest. "Everything is fine with him; this is absolutely another fake," Peskov told the press.
"This belongs to the category of absurd information hoaxes that a whole series of media discuss with enviable tenacity. This evokes nothing but a smile," he added.
The notion that Putin has used a stand-in for security and health reasons has been making its rounds in the Russian social media rumor mill for years. However, a fresh claim of Putin's declining health resurrected the idea.
A post from a supposed "insider" in the Kremlin said on Telegram, which uses encryption to keep messages secret, that Putin succumbed to a "cardiac arrest" Sunday and has since been incapacitated. "Security officers of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who were on duty at the residence, heard noise and sounds of falling coming from the president’s bedroom," the post reportedly said.
"Two security officers immediately followed into the president’s bedroom and saw Putin lying on the floor next to the bed and an overturned table with food and drinks. Putin convulsively arched while lying on the floor, rolling his eyes," it claimed.
Putin was then supposedly taken to a "special medical facility built in the apartment" and "underwent intensive care" there. This information was posted from an account called "General SVR" which claims to be a former lieutenant general in Russia.
The account has also appeared as "Viktor Mikhailovich" but claims to be part of an insider channel. Other posts have said that Putin,71, was suffering from "chest pains" and "coughing fits" that came on before an important speech.
One particularly nasty claim was that Putin fell down a flight of stairs and then defecated in his pants. Other Telegram posts claim Putin suffers from heart issues, blurry vision, headaches, a "numb tongue," cancer, and other maladies.
Earlier this month, the Telegram account claimed that the body double made the trip to China to meet with the communist nation's leader, Xi Jinping. The supposed proof was in the way Putin's cheekbones appeared.
Japanese artificial intelligence has supposedly identified several instances where Putin has used a body double based on his gait, word formation in speech, and other indicators, the UK Daily Mail reported. According to Dr. Valery Solovey, a Russian political analyst, Putin's recent trip to China was made by one of his doubles and China is aware but doesn't mind.
"'The fact is that the current President Vladimir Putin is living out the last days of his earthly life," Solovey said. "Not months, and not weeks, but precisely the last days [due to terminal illness]," Solovey went on.
"He is currently, like in previous months, being successfully replaced by his double… who even goes to Beijing. And the Chinese side knows very well who they are dealing with," the political activist added.
It wouldn't be unheard of for a political leader like Putin to pull some tricks. Whether he's using a body double or not, Russia presents a grave threat to America with Putin's government in place.