Playing Chess with the Dead
Do I think Putin is dead? I do not.
What do I think is going on in Russia?
Again, I do not live in Russia, but here's my short take. I think Vladimir Putin was the omnipresent leader of Russia until 2020. When Covid occurred, something mentally happened to Vladimir Putin and he became reclusive. There are no checks and balances in Russia to make Putin do anything he doesn't want to do.
I speculate that Putin simply became a detached leader, for whatever reason. Do I think he uses a body double? I know he does. But I don't think he does it because he is incapacitated, I think that he uses the body double when dealing with the parts of his job that he is no longer interested in, like mingling with "the people."
I think it is as simple as Putin being disinterested in running the day-to-day operations of Russia, Inc.
So let's return to the General SVR Channel. They streaked across my radar about a year ago when I saw the story "Putin Pooped His Pants" at Google News. Surely that story had to be fiction, I thought, but then a story that was originally at the Daily Mail starting to pop up at reputable sites like Newsweek. I was so stunned by the traction the story had garnered, not so much in the Pooping itself, but how a seemingly false narrative wound its way through the media: Beacon of Speech's Did Putin Really Poop His Pants?
I don't know if the General SVR Channel is a good or bad source, but I do know that they have 400,000 subscribers. So many subscribers, in fact, that the Kremlin was forced to address the death rumors and sternly tell the world that Putin was alive. Putin didn't address the rumors, or come out of his foxhole, but it was an extraordinary denial by the Russian government itself.
Now let's talk about reporting.
Let's assume the SVR is lying. Why would they lie?
They think Putin is a terrible leader and are trying to embarrass him.
They think Putin is a terrible leader and are trying to goad Putin into making more public appearances...so he can be assassinated.
They just like to lie.
Now what if they're telling the truth?
RT, the Russian Government's Media Arm, is not amused. They rolled out with this rebuttal yesterday: 'Putin has Died of a Heart Attack': Inside the Western media's 'intelligence sources' and their fake news about Russia - Where does the Anglo-American propaganda machine get its nonsense stories about the president’s health?
Of course the General SVR Channel comes up almost immediately in the conversation. RT seems to think that the Western Media citing the General SVR Channel is like RT citing America's Jerry Springer Show.
It's even funnier if the General SVR Channel is nothing more than a hard-core version of The Onion. If I claimed Putin was dead, no one is citing Beacon of Speech. What makes the General SVR Channel so popular?
Or, again, maybe Putin's really dead.