What Putin said when asked about his 11-day absence

Vladimir Putin Kyrgyz meetingScreenshot / Sky NewsRussian President Vladimir Putin meets with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev in St. Petersburg on March 16, 2015.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reappeared to the public on Monday after an unexplained 10-day absence.

He attended a previously scheduled meeting with Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev in St. Petersburg, and many journalists were in attendance to photograph the highly anticipated event.

When asked about the rumours behind his disappearance from public view, Putin reportedly said that “it’s be boring without gossip”:

AFP reports that Putin looked “somewhat pale” at his meeting with Atambayev, but it’s still unclear if his absence was health related.

Until last week, Putin hadn’t been out of the Kremlin spotlight for more than a day since the early 2000s, when he dropped off the grid after a national tragedy (the sinking of the submarine Kursk in 2000) and in 2002 when terrorists took over a Moscow theatre and more than 100 civilians died. So his lengthy absence is unprecedented in that it has no obvious cause.

The meeting with the Kyrgyz president came after Putin canceled several other scheduled events last week, leading to conspiracy theories about where he might be. Putin was last seen in public at a news conference on March 5.

Rumours claimed Putin died, was on paternity leave, had cosmetic surgery, or was seriously ill. Some speculated that a coup was underway. But it’s possible that we’ll never know the reason behind Putin’s unusual absence.

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