Russian President Vladimir Putin hasn’t been seen for nearly a week and it could be because he’s on paternity leave. Rumors circled that gymnast Alina Kabaeva, his alleged girlfriend, gave birth to their love child, The Mirror reported Friday. The baby, a little girl, was reportedly born at a clinic in Switzerland.
Putin, 62, and Kabaeva, 31, have been dating for years, according to rumors, though the relationship was never confirmed. It’s not the first time the duo has been thrust into the rumor mill. They purportedly have two more children together, the New York Daily News reported.
Like Putin, Kabaeva has not been seen or issued a statement since their reported child was born.
Though it’s possible the president’s absence is because of a baby, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denies the rumor: “Information about the birth of Vladimir Putin’s child does not correspond to reality,” he said last week.
So if Putin’s not on paternity leave with his supposed girlfriend, where is he? One theory is that he’s sick with the flu, according to a report by Gawker. The news site cited an anonymous source and didn’t give further details.
Following the possibility Putin might be ill, Reuters cited an Austrian paper that claimed the Russian president was suffering with back problems. However, Peskov would not confirm or deny the latest theory to Reuters.
Finally, a popular theory is that he’s dead. Hashtags like #WhereIsPutin and #PutinIsDead became top-trending Twitter topics over the weekend.
Putin was last seen March 5 with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. After he canceled a trip to Kazakhstan and a regular meeting with the Federal Security Service, rumors about his mortality began to ignite, the Huffington Post wrote.
The claims, whether that he's dead, sick or on paternity leave, only seem to intensify as Putin remains out of sight.
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