A Vladimir Putin impersonator will be used instead of the real president at the Tehran summit this week, according to Ukrainian military intelligence chief Major General Kyrillo Budanov. Although the Russian leader appeared shy as he descended the steps of his plane in the capital of the ayatollahs, Ukrainian sources noted that he moved unusually quickly and appeared more cautious than in previous public appearances.
Two years ago, Putin admitted that Kremlin officials had considered using twins, but said the idea had been abandoned. “I reject any idea of duplication,” the Russian leader said. In particular, the use of doubles was considered in the early 2000s, when Russia was hit by Islamic terrorist attacks: the doubles were supposed to stand in for Putin in cases where the head of state might be in danger.
The duo (a serial element in Russian history and culture, from False Dmitri to Dostoyevsky) was used by former Soviet leaders Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev. The use of an aide suggests that Putin has physical problems, although even CIA Director William Burns denies it. However, the denial was refuted by Valery Solovyi, a Russian political scientist who fled to the United States. The latter, who has long claimed that the Russian leader is ill, said: “The Americans, especially the CIA, have information about the real health of the Russian president. They certainly knew he had serious issues, including mental health. Solovy, a former professor at the Moscow Institute of International Relations, suggested that Burns’ conviction was because the United States was working behind the scenes to negotiate with Russia to resolve the conflict.
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