Former Spy Chief says that rumours of Vladimir Putin’s death are wrong but he often uses body doubles due to assassination fears.
Valeriy Kondratiuk used to be head of Ukraine’s Military and Foreign Intelligence and described Putin as a “madman” and “tyrant”. who was obsessed with his personal security.
Despite rumours that Putin is losing power in Russia, Kondratiuk says that Russia is still very much under his regime and that he is at the forefront.
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Outsiders believed that Putin was using body doubles and fakes while he hid due to illness.
These rumours were furthered when Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy told a forum that he could not make out if Putin was “still alive”.
These claims angered the Russian government.
But Kondratiuk, 52, said: “A person who has been in power for a long time, any tyrant, tries to take additional measures for his own security.
“In order to prevent terrorist acts during public events, such as visiting public places or meetings, he often uses doubles.
“The real Putin is where he meets with the defence minister at a large table, where the distance between him and [Sergei] Shoigu is far enough.”
He added: "When he stands near the people at some events, awards – this role is played by doubles to reduce the risks of any assassination attempts.”
When asked whether doppelgängers dubbed “Putin puppets” could now be ruling Russia, he said this is not the case.
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“It is the madman Putin who is behind this war,” he said.
“And he is personally responsible for the amount of grief and tragedy that has occurred because of his decisions.
“I don’t think any double would be as crazy and support it.
“If Putin is gone, then it’s crazy to support this war.
“I don’t even see anyone in Putin’s environment who would be interested in continuing his policy.”
Previously, Ukrainian General Kyrylo Budanov said Putin employed lookalikes who had undergone plastic surgery.
“We know specifically about three people who keep appearing, but how many there are, we don’t know,” he said.
“They all had plastic surgery to look alike.”
This echoes Russian Telegram channel General SVR which has made similar claims over a long period.
Such stand-ins are being regularly used, in part to protect Putin – who has alleged health problems – from Covid or other infections, the channel has claimed.
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