Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has denied rumors that President Vladimir Putin is unwell.
The rumors started after a trip to Kazakhstan, scheduled for March 12-13, was postponed.
Vladimir Putin’s last public appearance was on March 5 when he met Italian PM Matteo Renzi.
Dmitry Peskov said those making the claims had themselves caught “spring fever”.
“When the sun comes up in the spring, and as soon as spring is in the air, then the fever begins,” he said.
“We are calm on this fever, and respond to the questions with patience.”
Reuters quoted a Kazakh government source on March 11 as saying: “It looks like [Vladimir Putin] has fallen ill.”
Insisting the president was “fine”, Dmitry Peskov said Vladimir Putin had meetings “all the time” but not all of them were public.
Besides the trip to Kazakhstan, Vladimir Putin was due to sign a treaty of integration between Russia and South Ossetia – a breakaway state formerly part of Georgia – but the ceremony did not take place.
There may be technical reasons for that – it was reported that the document had not been fully agreed.
Vladimir Putin had also been slated to attend a federal security meeting on March 12 but a government source told Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency it was unlikely to go ahead.
RBC Daily, a Moscow business newspaper, reported that the video of Vladimir Putin posted to the Kremlin’s website on March 8, meeting a delegation for International Women’s Day, had been pre-recorded on March 5. One participant at the meeting told the paper the president had looked tired.
Since then, more videos of Vladimir Putin have appeared on the site. Footage of a meeting with the governor of Russia’s republic of Karelia was published on March 11.
The videos have been the subject of scrutiny, with pundits looking closely at Vladimir Putin’s clothes and the digits of a calendar in the background for clues about when the filming took place.
[youtube utAyUvKm8AU 650]
Authorities in Kazakhstan have removed a monument after locals likened the figures on it to hobbits taking a “selfie”, reports say.
The statue in the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk was built to honor two 19th Century figures – Abay Kunanbayev, a local writer and thinker, and Yevgeny Mikhaelis, a Russian scientist and pro-democracy activist who was exiled to eastern Kazakhstan.
The statue in the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk was built to honor two 19th Century figures (photo YK.kz)
The monument immediately attracted the scorn of locals who – according to Tengri News website – took to social media to point out that the figures looked like they were taking a selfie. Other people pointed out their similarity to hobbits, said the news website Nur.kz.
Even one of the co-authors of the monument, Vladimir Samoylov, admitted that there was something wrong with it. The sculptors were given too little time to finish the monument, he told YK.kz, a website based in Ust-Kamenogorsk.
“We were in a huge rush, and look what happened.”
Following the criticism, the monument was removed on June 24, just one day after it was erected at the intersection of Abay Avenue and Mikhaelis Street.
The statue “deviated from the agreed design”, and the sculptors were told to correct the deviations as soon as possible, the local government told Tengri News.
Kazakh tycoon and dissident Mukhtar Ablyazov should be extradited to Russia or Ukraine to face fraud charges, a French court has ruled today.
Mukhtar Ablyazov is accused of stealing billions of dollars from the Kazakh BTA Bank, which also operates in Russia and Ukraine.
The court said Russia should take priority.
Mukhtar Ablyazov was arrested on the French Riviera last July.
Mukhtar Ablyazov is accused of stealing billions of dollars from the Kazakh BTA Bank, which also operates in Russia and Ukraine
He denies the allegations. His children say his life would be in danger if he were to be transferred to Kazakhstan.
Both Ukraine and Russia have requested his extradition.
Mukhtar Ablyazov’s lawyer said he would appeal against the ruling.