Vladimir Putin death claim is ‘test to assess his popularity’ among Russians

Vladimir Putin ‘Russia Can Make A Contribution To The Peace Process’

Unproven reports claiming Vladimir Putin died last month were spread by the Kremlin to test his popularity, the Ukrainian Government has said.

Putin was pronounced dead in some online circles for two days after Telegram channels linked to pro-regime figures claimed he had been found unconscious at his Valdai residence.

Later branded a “hoax” by the Kremlin, the accounts went on to suggest that the Russian leader had breathed his last breath after over two decades in power.

But the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine is now alleging the rumour was specifically designed by the Russian government itself to assess Putin’s popularity as the country nears the two-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine.

Andrii Yusov, a spokesman for Kyiv’s intelligence agency, claimed the reports of Putin’s death were devised to review the public’s response and to improve plans for regime change.

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Yusov said: “The basic purpose of fake news is to look at how society reacts in terms of numbers and dynamics, to look at the reactions of individuals, the elite and the media.

“In this way, the empire, which is built on the work of the secret services, learns how to continue to rule.”

The Telegram channel General SVR first reported allegations of Putin’s death on October 26, suggesting that Putin’s protection service found him collapsed on the ground of his forest palace.

The moderator went on to claim the Russian president’s body had been stored in a food freezer for preservation while a body double took over.

While the Kremlin shut down the rumours within days, it fuelled much speculation – and resulted in a spike in internet searches for “dead Putin”, “Putin died” and “dying Putin”.

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The Russian leader has since put in an increasing number of public outings, most recently on Thursday.

But Putin’s health has long been the subject of international speculation, with another Telegram channel on October 23 claiming he had been found “convulsively arched while lying on the floor, rolling his eyes”.

The General SVR account has over a million of subscribers and claims to have inside information on the behind-the-scenes of the Russian Government.

However, the account has been found to have shared and published misinformation on multiple occasions in the past.

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