Sensational Claim By Ukraine Intelligence Chief That The ‘Real’ Putin Has Not Been Seen For More Than A Year

Image of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Image of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Credit: Harold Escalona/

A sensational claim made by Ukraine’s head of intelligence would have us believe that the ‘Vladimir Putin’ we have seen in video footage is not necessarily the original.

During an extraordinary interview with the Crimea.Realities presenter Anzhelika Rudenko, Major-General Kyrylo Budanov insisted that it is more than one year since the ‘real’ Putin was seen in public.

He went as far as to suggest that the Russian President might not even be still alive, according to on Saturday, September 2, who published the relevant subtitled video with their article.

At one point, Rudenko asked the spy chief whether he thought Putin was: ‘either not alive, or else in a really bad health state’. His response was: ‘Or he doesn’t want to appear. There might be so many different reasons’.

Ukraine has often claimed that Putin used ‘doubles’

The Ukrainians have claimed for a long time now that the person seen in almost all of the public appearances is not really Putin but a doppelgänger. ‘The one who everyone used to know was last seen around June 26, 2022’ claimed Budanov.
That was the date on which the President allegedly attended crisis talks at the Kremlin, with video footage of his purported motorcade travelling at high speed through the streets of Moscow posted on social media at the time.

Among his allies said to have been in attendance at that late-night emergency meeting was Alexander Lukashenko, the President of neighbouring Belarus.

Putin seemed to be wearing his watch on the wrong wrist

A recent episode in August that featured video footage of ‘Putin’ was highlighted by Budanov. The Russian leader is known to always wear his watch on his right wrist, however, in the video, ‘Putin’ was seen looking down at his left wrist appearing to be checking the time. In a bizarre moment, ‘Putin’ then removes the timepiece and holds it in his hand.

‘Is this a real Putin?’, the host of the Crimea.Realities show on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty asked the intelligence boss. ‘Let’s leave it to everyone to decide, so everyone leaves it to their own fantasy’, he replied.

In an attempt to make Budanov admit that he thought it was not really Putin in the video, Rudenko pushed him: ‘But is this Putin or…’.

Very cleverly, the spy chief reversed the question, prompting the host to admit she believed it was a body double. ‘So do I’, he exclaimed, adding that he thought it was ‘not very likely’ to be the real Putin.

‘And as for the real Putin, let me ask you directly – is he alive or not?’, Rudenko pressed, to which the spymaster responded: ‘I don’t know what to answer you’.

Several claims surrounding suggestions that the Russian leader using doubles have circulated since the conflict in Ukraine began.

One theory after it was claimed Putin had a terminal illness used the notion that even if the real Putin died, the Kremlin might want his intimidating persona to continue.

Confusion surrounded Putin’s appearances after the pandemic

Confusion also surrounded Putin’s appearances after the pandemic. At times, he insisted that he would not meet with officials unless they had first isolated for up to two weeks sometimes.

On other occasions, he was seen walking freely among members of the public who could easily have been infected. This observation only heightened the theory that there was more than one ‘Putin’.

Last Friday, the Russian leader reportedly visited a village in the Tver region, which is his ancestral home. He spent his time walking among the locals, apparently indulging in conversation with them.

Dr Valery Solovey, a former professor at Moscow’s famous training school for spies and diplomats, the prestigious Institute of International Relations, claims to be an expert on Vladimir Putin.

‘Western governments know perfectly well that President Putin is replaced by double. It is known by leaders of all more or less large countries across the world but everyone turns a blind eye. Why?’, he questioned.

‌’After all, these are the affairs of these strange Russians, let them do their thing, and fool their own people’, he added.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Do remember to come back and check The Euro Weekly News website for all your up-to-date local and international news stories and remember, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at