Rumours about Putin's death

The anonymous Russian Telegram channel General SVR announced Putin's death on Thursday. The channel, which has around 400,000 followers and claims to be written by Kremlin insiders, has reported in the last few months on the creation of Putin doubles with which the Russian president's entourage want to thwart a transfer of power after his death. The commentators selected by eurotopics consider the news to be fake, but not a trivial matter.

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Konstantin Sonin (RU) /

Start practising for the real thing now

While remaining sceptical about the report, economics professor Konstantin Sonin outlines the priorities if Putin really were to die on Facebook:

“I do not doubt that he will die at some point. And it is very important not to miss out on the opportunities his death will bring for Russia. The 'collective leadership' that will be at the helm immediately after Putin's death must not miss the chance to instantly end the hostilities, start withdrawing troops from the occupied territories of Ukraine and open negotiations on lifting sanctions in exchange for compensation to Ukraine. This will be difficult because the first collective leadership will include people directly responsible for starting the war - but it must be done.”

Alexei Roschin (RU) /

A sudden end

Sociologist Alexei Roshchin describes the source of the information on his Facebook page as follows:

“General SVR had been talking for years about how Putin was 'ailing', how his health was 'getting worse and worse', that 'the doctors could no longer vouch for his life' - while at the same time issuing 'reports' about a so-called 'Putin body double', who 'under the cover' of Russia's top officials, starting with the head of the Security Council Patrushev, has been increasingly 'slipping into the role' of president. The case was visibly on its way to being resolved, but the way the 'General' suddenly announced the death of a Russian president naturally shocked many. Somehow everyone thought that the channel's writers would let 'Putin' live a little longer. To be honest, I thought so too.”

Duma (BG) /

Always look for a second source

While the Telegram channel General SVR was claiming that Putin had been in hospital for days after a heart attack, he was alive and kicking according to other sources, writes the Pro-Kremlin Bulgarian daily Duma:

“There is a principle in journalism that a news item should be verified by a second source. The official Russian news agency Tass made no mention of a heart attack. But if most of our media stubbornly doubt Tass, they could have gone to the president's website. Putin's daily routine documented there would make it clear that this is media manipulation and information warfare.”