Russia's despotic president Vladimir Putin is reportedly using a body double in high heels known as "Pseudo-Putin".
With the real Putin dogged by rumours of ill health and impending death since he first ordered troops to enter Ukraine nearly a year ago, it is alleged an actor is making public appearances for him instead.
Those rumours ramped up earlier this week when Putin – or an understudy pretending to be Putin – was spotted doing a meet and greet with students at Moscow's State University on Wednesday (January 25) to mark Student Day.
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Images of the event showed the "president" was hiding his right hand, while also appearing to be wearing something akin to high heels.
Telegram channel General SVR – which has been claiming to be the voice of an insider at the Kremlin since the invasion started – remarked about various "oddities" that suggested this was a fake Putin.
General SVR posted: “During a public meeting with students… many noticed some oddities and physiological features of the ‘president’.
“A person similar to Putin, unlike the original, was absolutely not afraid to be near a large number of little-known and completely unfamiliar people, which is not at all typical for the president in the past few years.
“Obvious differences were observed on the face of pseudo-Putin and in the manner his behaviour.
“The left cheekbone of the understudy was swollen and moved unnaturally with the ‘president’s' facial expressions.
“An unnaturally hanging upper lip is the result of an unsuccessful ‘fitting’ of the understudy.”
The understudy had undergone too many botox injections, it was claimed.
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And he also had a “different” laugh, too.
“This public appearance of the president's double was not the most successful, but nothing can be done because Putin is not able to take part in such events,” they added.
The Kremlin has never commented on Putin's health issues, or the chances of them using a body double at public events.
During the University event, Putin praised the students he was talking to.
According to the Kremlin, he said: "I would like to wish you all the best, to wish you significant production and research achievements that will give you a sense of accomplishment, so that you can find self-fulfillment in life through your work, and so that your work brings significant and important results to our society and the whole of the country.
"I am confident that this is what will happen."
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