Is Vladimir Putin using body doubles?

Is Vladimir Putin using body doubles?
Vladimir Putin appears to be heckled during visit to Mariupol

A bizarre new video circulating online has claimed that Russian leader Vladimir Putin is using body doubles for different trips.

The conspiracy was shared on Russian social media following Putin's recent visit to occupied Mariupol in Ukraine. It poses the question: "Who is ruling Russia?"

While it's unclear who created the footage, it looks as though it's trying to reach Russians who rely on the state media for news.

The video has since been reposted to Twitter, in which it states: "Specialists long ago noticed the differences between the Russian president's body doubles.

"A ledge on Putin's earlobe constantly changes.

"As does a small mole on his face.

"One of the Putins has straight wrinkles on his face, the other has small and interrupted [wrinkles].

"This is impossible even if he had botox injections."

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Earlier this week, Kyiv official Anton Gerashchenko shared three snaps of Putin's chin and questioned whether they all belonged to the Russian leader.

He said: "Which one do you think is the real one?"

According to the Daily Mail, the interior minister advisor went on to say: "Looks like lately his make-up artists (i.e. for the recent trips of the bunker man to the occupied Crimea and Mariupol) had to work with quite a low-quality copy, not even a double but its copy."

However, some outlets have since claimed the dates and locations in the collage are incorrect.

Anton Gerashchenko / Twitter

This isn't the first time rumours have been rife about Putin's alleged use of doppelgängers.

Last year, an alleged MI6 source told the Daily Star they believed Putin’s appearance at the Moscow Victory Day Parade in May 2022 could, however unlikely, have been a body double.

An intelligence source at the time claimed: "Putin is very ill and when he dies his death will be kept secret for weeks, if not months.

"There is also the possibility that he is already dead. It’s impossible to know.

"It is believed that Putin has employed body doubles in the past when he has been unwell and the Kremlin could be doing so now."

However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denied the speculation of Putin's ill health. Lavrov told France's TF1: "I don't think that sane people can see in this person signs of some kind of illness or ailment."

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