Just several days after claims that President Putin had suffered a cardiac arrest were dismissed as “fake news” the same source, the GeneralSVR Telegram channel, reported late on Thursday night that Russia’s leader had “died at his luxury Valdai forest palace.”
The report proclaimed: “At the moment there is an attempted coup in Russia! Russian President Vladimir Putin died tonight at his residence on Valdai. At 20:42 (8:42 p.m.) Moscow time, doctors stopped resuscitation and pronounced him dead.”
According to the report the doctors “were kept blocked in the room with Putin's corpse” by Putin’s security detail while Kremlin officials decided on how to “preserve the current regime and use Putin's double.”
It went on that this was “on the personal order of Dmitry Kochnev [the head of the Russian Presidential Security Service], who is in touch and receives instructions from the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev [Secretary of the Security Council of Russia].”
As with the announcement of the earlier “heart attack” reports the tabloids also quickly got onto the story. The UK’s Daily Mail claimed that the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitriy Peskov, had made what it called an “extraordinary denial to the ‘lies’ that Vladimir Putin, 71, had died,” implying that such a statement would not have been made if there wasn’t some truth to the reports.
But while the Daily Mail quoted Russian state media channel RIA Novosti as reporting Peskov’s latest comments, Kyiv Post could only find his previous comments made earlier in the week in reference to Putin’s “heart attack.”
Early on Friday morning GeneralSVR published a second bulletin with more details in the same vein: “The state of health of Russian President Vladimir Putin began to deteriorate sharply and at 20.42 Moscow time, doctors pronounced the president dead.”
It further claimed that a “coup” was underway with members of Putin's inner circle trying to pass off his “body double” as the real president: “Dmitry Kochnev carries out the instructions of the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev...Negotiations on the creation of a coalition of representatives of the near-Putin elites under the leadership of Nikolai Patrushev, to preserve the current regime and use Putin's double in the image of the president, have almost been completed.”
Yet a third message on the channel a couple of hours later alleged that “[With] no respect for the deceased. Putin’s corpse was placed in a freezer, which previously contained deep-frozen food, at the presidential residence in Valdai.”
The Telegram channel in question is run by a supposed retired Lieutenant-General, using the alias “Viktor Mikhailovich,” who is supposedly a former Kremlin insider and who claims to maintain links with Putin’s inner circle.
He has also been for some time one of the main peddlers of the notion that the Russian president is suffering from a range of serious medical issues and relies on the use of “body doubles” to cover up the severity of his condition.
As always, social media swiftly got in on the act on X (formerly Twitter) and Telegram, even though this is just one of many announcements of the “death” of Russia’s strongman. One user joked that Putin has already died “297,120 times”.
Although reliable information relating to Putin's health is one of the Kremlin's most closely guarded secrets, various stories about a wide range of supposed illnesses has circulated among both Western and Russian media for several years which flare up with renewed vigor and are attributed to his motivation for some of his more extreme behavior, including the war in Ukraine.
A full summary of the main instances of this can be read here.
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter