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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Will Stewart

Vladimir Putin body double 'spotted' after viewers notice clue in his shoes

Extraordinary new claims were made today that a major Vladimir Putin outing this week involved a body double and not the real president.

The warlord was pictured wearing heeled shoes to bolster his 5ft 7in height during a meeting with Moscow State University students on Wednesday.

But his smiling façade contrasts with a video from the day before when the glum 70-year-old dictator’s right hand was concealed from view.

The latest claim of a doppelgänger came from Telegram channel General SVR.

It suggested Putin’s “main double” - one of an alleged team of actors who have undergone plastic surgery to emulate a sickly and often-absent Putin - was deployed on this week’s university visit marking Russian Student Day.

It's been claimed the man meeting Moscow students was actually one of three doppelgangers used by the Russian leader (Maksim Mishin/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

“During a public meeting with students…many noticed some oddities and physiological features of the ‘president’,” stated the channel.

“A person similar to Putin, unlike the original, was absolutely not afraid to be near a large number of little-known and completely unfamiliar people, which is not at all typical for the president in the past few years.

“Obvious differences were observed on the face of pseudo-Putin and in the manner his behaviour.

“The left cheekbone of the understudy was swollen and moved unnaturally with the ‘president’s' facial expressions.

“An unnaturally hanging upper lip is the result of an unsuccessful ‘fitting’ of the understudy.”

The understudy had undergone too many botox injections, it was claimed.

Putin sported shoes with a chunky heel (Maksim Mishin/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

“The stunt double's laughing style is different from Putin’s” while some movements “appear constrained”.

“This public appearance of the president's double was not the most successful, but nothing can be done because Putin is not able to take part in such events.”

The channel has long claimed that he is suffering from cancer and other ailments.

A video earlier showed Putin meeting Vyacheslav Gladkov, governor of Belgorod region which borders Ukraine and has been hit by repeated shelling in the war.

In this footage, the president at one point looked pained and with his left hand fidgeted awkwardly with a container of pencils .

His right hand remained out of view as the session got underway.

There were several momentary facial twitches.

The body double rumours have been circulating for years (Getty Images)

He was unusually passive as Gladkov reported to him on compensation for the families of those killed in the war in Belgorod region.

The governor revealed that 25 people have been killed and 96 wounded in strikes in his region by Ukraine in retaliation for the eventless bombardment unleashed by Putin on his neighbouring country.

Two weeks earlier Putin had been seen repeatedly rubbing or massaging his right hand as he berated deputy premier Denis Manturov in a public dressing down for "fooling around" over the failure to provide new war and civilian planes.

In October last year, the same right hand was suspected to show IV track marks when he met mobilised servicemen in Ryazan, suggesting intravenous treatment.

He is also prone to clutch the corners of desks with his right hand, which some have suggested is a move to stop it quivering or shaking.

The governor told him locals had “big pride” and were “staying strong”.

Putin admitted three years ago that officials urged him to use doubles (Zuma Press/PA Images)

He told Putin: “Any trembling in the knees might lead to certain consequences.”

Putin suffers “bouts of coughing, dizziness, sleep disturbances, abdominal pain [and] constant nausea” as well as “the manifestation of symptoms of Parkinson's disease and schizoaffective disorder”, the channel claimed earlier.

It has previously claimed he uses doubles.

Body doubles have been routinely used by Kremlin leaders, for example longtime Soviet supremos Josef Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev.

Putin three years ago admitted that officials urged him to use doubles, but he claimed the idea was rejected.

"I discarded the idea of any doubles,” he said, referring to the early days of his rule.

He was advised in the early 2000s when Russia was hit by terrorist attacks that a lookalike should take his place at events where the head of state might be at risk, he said.

“This was during the toughest time of our war against terrorism,” he said.

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