Putin Makes First Public Appearance After 10-Day Absence

During a meeting with the Kyrgyz president, Vladimir Putin dismissed the rumors over his absence. Life "would be boring without gossip," he said.
Posted at 1:02 PM, Mar 16, 2015

After 10 days of speculation about his public absence, Russian President Vladimir Putin has remerged, and oddly enough, he seems to be just fine. 

Putin chose his meeting with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev as his coming out party, he even joked during the meeting, "(Life) would be boring without gossip."

President Putin hadn't been seen in public since March 5 and over the last 10 days he canceled a trip to Kazakhstan, missed a meeting with his domestic intelligence service and stood up two representatives from the rump nation of South Ossetia.

The rumor mill began spinning almost immediately with speculation ranging from health problems to a Swiss love child. Putin's absence is a big deal in the Kremlin, where Putin is considered the alpha and omega of the Russian state.

"The fact that there's so little information about him and so much speculation about it is a symptom of the fact that it's a relatively authoritarian system based on one guy, and if that one guy is gone, people get worried," Alexander Kliment told Bloomberg.

"There is absolutely no reason for any doubt​ about his health. His health is really perfect, and everything is OK with him," said Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Putin's reappearance comes on the anniversary of his controversial referendum that lead the way to Crimea's annexation into Russia, what critics call the biggest illegal land grab since World War II.

The European Union released a statement Monday in regards to the one year anniversary criticizing the annexation: "The European Union remains firmly committed to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The European Union does not recognise and continues to condemn this act of violation of international law."

This video includes images from Getty Images and music from Christian Bjoerklund / CC BY NC SA 3.0.