There has been speculation about Vladimir Putin’s condition since the start of the Ukraine war at the latest. Now a picture of the President of Russia is causing a stir.
Moscow – The Ukraine war is also a struggle for information sovereignty. While the partly bizarre war propaganda on Russian state TV always attracts attention, also come from the Ukraine regularly unsubstantiated claims that serve their own narrative. Most recently, an appearance by Wladimir Putin with high-heeled shoes for eddies. What’s behind it?
Conspiracy stories in the Ukraine war: “Fake Putin”
The trigger was a recording of Putin during a visit to the Lomonosov State University in Moscow. This shows the Russian President wearing high-heeled shoes. “Fake Putin,” Jason Smart, a correspondent at the Kyiv Post, commented on the picture on twitter. “Putin wears high heels. He always does this when he is with groups that are smaller than he should be,” writes Smart, putting Putin’s height at 1.70 meters. However, it appears that a double takes part in most public events. “The changes in size, ears and weight are otherwise inexplicable.”
Doppelganger narrative: Ukraine spreads conspiracy story about Putin
This tale is by no means new. As early as October 2022, the head of the Ukrainian military intelligence service, Kyrylo Budanov, made a corresponding statement. He knows of three look-alikes who have all had plastic surgeries to look like Putin, he said in an interview with the British Daily Mail. Budanov also named height as a feature to identify the real Russian president. Amid persistent Speculations about Putin’s possible illness the officer even asked “whether the real Putin still exists.”
Neither Budanov nor Smart provided evidence for their claims. Instead of serious theories, their statements are in any case a current example of the extent to which Ukraine is trying to shape public discourse. Ultimately, behind the stories about health and doppelgangers is the assumption that a weak Putin can only help the end of the Ukraine war. (vbu)
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