Will the Real Vladimir Putin Please Stand Up, Please Stand Up
5 years ago, Vladimir Putin was a Rock Star. He loved to be in front of the camera, he loved to look cool.
Even European Punk Bands made fun of Putin's manufactured machismo in a way that's usually reserved for American politicians.
Then Covid happened and Putin changed. We here at Beacon of Speech have speculated that either the coronavirus damaged him, or the isolation corroded his brain.
Either way, we have no idea as to how to cover Putin anymore. What's our angle?
Here are the lead stories of the day around the web:
Drudge Report: Desantis
Fox News: Trump & Pelosi
ABC News: Trump & Pence
NBC News: Trump and the Constitution
Then, on a slow news day, except for the USWNT crashing out of the Women's World Cup, the lead story at RT piqued my curiosity: A World Without Russia: How Hundreds of Thousands of Citizens Have Become Convinced That Their Country Doesn't Really Exist
Sorry for the cut and paste job, but I had to take the direct quote: “'The USSR did not collapse and there are no documents confirming that the USSR ceased to exist. Three people signed a document about the alleged collapse of the USSR. Three people cannot decide for all the republics and for the whole country! Moreover, this paper does not even exist! There is a photo of this document, there is a photocopy, but there is no original document! This matter can only be decided by the people. On March 17, 1991, at the All-Union referendum, 76% of citizens voted in favor of the preservation of the Soviet Union. The USSR did not give a single square centimeter to anyone, not a single republic left the USSR. Consequently, everyone remained in the USSR,' says Alexey Garanin, a resident of a remote part of Russia who considers himself a citizen of a country that disappeared over 30 years ago."
Thousands of people belong to the 'Citizens of the USSR" Movement...
What the hell is going on in Russia?
So I doubled back to the Drudge Report, maybe they had a Citizens of the USSR blurb. Nope.
They, instead, had Putin among a throng of admirers.
Where did that photo come from? I saw that photo at ZERO other websites. That photo is news in itself for the newly reclusive Putin. And what is DNYUZ?
Then I ran into another wall. So I delved deeper into the web and came across a website called Hucksters. According to Hucksters:
"Hucksters has exclusively exposed the owners of the increasingly popular DNyuz.com website that publishes thousands of news stories without any bylines, authors, or credits. Despite the total lack of transparency, the website has become one of the main sources for the web’s leading news aggregator, Drudge Report, which has been popular among the right-wing for many years.
Okay, so is the photo real or fake, new or old?
Apparently I am asking the wrong question. The right question is: Is that Putin Picture really Putin?
According to the SVR General Channel on Telegram, they are ADAMANT that the gentleman in the picture is a body double. They claim the "real" Putin hasn't been seen in public since the Invasion of Ukraine.
"Yesterday, a man resembling Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with heads of manufacturing enterprises. Apparently, the double considered this event not at all significant, because he very quickly moved away from the recommendations for holding a meeting and made a lot of his own adjustments to the process of communicating with the participants in the conversation. Understudy, as an avid motorist, in the recent past, was interested in the development of the domestic auto industry, and he "knowledgeably" entered into a discussion with Manturov and other participants in the meeting on this issue. By making an unexpected populist demand to transfer all Russian officials to the domestic auto industry, the double surprised many, including Manturov and Putin himself, who was given a detailed report on the results of the meeting. In the process of communicating with the guests, the president's understudy actively and interestedly participated in the discussion of almost all issues and made a generally positive impression on those present. Manturov looked frankly surprised by the unusual activity of the "president". In Putin's entourage, those who are aware of the situation with the double are concerned about uncontrolled initiatives that come from the double and believe that he risks giving himself away by such behavior. Putin himself did not show much concern about this and, having read the report on the results of the meeting, said that the understudy was doing a good job, without expressing any complaints..."
Can you trust the SVR General Channel? How an Influential Telegram Account is Spreading Wild, Unproven Claims about the Kremlin's Inner Workings
Don't forget we're only 2 months out from a Deepfake Putin declaring martial law in Russia.
How did that happen? No one knows. Bunch of hackers...
I am serious. I am starting to get a migraine.
How hard is it for Putin to give a live news conference with real reporters--
Hold on, I've got Pravda on the other line...
They want to know when's the last time American President Joe Biden gave a live news conference with real reporters? Umm, that's a great question. I have no idea. So I googled it and...
None of those news conferences in the search results were Joe Biden and reporters, they were all co-headliners with other heads of state and reporters present. According to The American Presidency Project, there's been one in the last year and a half...
I'm going to go take some Ibuprofin.