Russia Update: Putin Still Missing. Will He Appear Tomorrow?

March 15, 2015

Welcome to our column, Russia Update, where we will be closely following day-to-day developments in Russia, including the Russian government’s foreign and domestic policies.

The previous issue is here.

The Kremlin has published a new picture of President Vladimir Putin reportedly meeting with the head of the Supreme Court today, but as throughout the week, there was no confirmation that the picture hadn’t been taken in the past.


Special features:

Alexey Navalny On the Murder of Boris Nemtsov
Theories about Possible Perpetrators of the Murder of Boris Nemtsov
Novaya Gazeta Releases Sensational Kremlin Memo: ‘It is Seen as Correct to Initiate Annexation of Eastern Regions of Ukraine to Russia’
Former Russian Intelligence Officers Behind Boisto “Track II” Talks – and Now the Flawed Minsk Agreement.

See also our Russia This Week stories:

All The Strange Things Happening in Moscow
Remembering Boris Nemtsov, Insider and Outsider (1959-2015)
Ultranationalists Angry over ‘Capitulation’ of Minsk Agreement,
‘Anti-Maidan’ Launched by Nationalists, Cossacks, Veterans, Bikers

The Guild War – How Should Journalists Treat Russian State Propagandists?

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Putin Will Reportedly Appear Tomorrow In St. Petersburg

We start with the question everyone has asked this week: where is Russian President Vladimir Putin?

His last confirmed public sighting was on March 5 when he met Italy’s Prime Minister. Since then, the Kremlin has released several pictures and videos of Putin, but none of them can be confirmed as new, and at least one of them has been confirmed as being old. 

In this sense, today Putin is still ‘missing.’ 

But the Russian media has given us two clues today as to where Putin may be right now:

TV Rain, an embattled-but-independent Russian television outlet, reports that according to their sources Putin is in his resort residence on lake Lake Valdai, halfway between Moscow and St. Petersburg. 

TV Rain also notes that Putin’s spokesperson,  Dmitry Peskov, refuses to comment on whether Putin has an illness. 

Ekho Moskvy, on the other hand, reports that Putin will appear tomorrow at a scheduled meeting with the leader of Kyrgyzstan, Almazbek Atambayev. However, Ekho Moskvy (another embattled independent media outlet) also notes that it’s not clear whether the press will be allowed to cover the event.

We’d caution, however,  that there has been a near-total lack of transparency from the Russian government on Putin’s whereabouts, or why he has been ‘missing’ for all of these days. Therefore, any news stories about Putin’s activities should be taken with a grain of salt until he makes a confirmed public appearance.

James Miller