A viral video drawing high attention on Russian social media alleges that Vladimir Putin is deceiving the public by using multiple body doubles for certain trips.
The video puts forward the wild conspiracy theory that a lookalike was used for Putin’s recent visit to occupied Mariupol in Ukraine.
The footage aims to target Russians who rely on the state media for news, and poses the question: “Who is ruling Russia?”
Although it is unclear who created the video, it highlights the discrepancies between Putin’s supposed body doubles, such as a changing earlobe ledge, a shifting mole on his face, and different types of wrinkles.
Plastic surgery rumours have circulated around Putin for years, and conspiracy theorists speculate that his ”understudies” are increasingly used as his health reportedly worsens.
The video suggests that the weakest double was sent to Mariupol and questions whether he has false teeth.
In October 2022, similar claims were made by Ukraine’s head of military intelligence that Putin has been using three body doubles, who have had plastic surgery to resemble him.
Major General Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s head of military intelligence, claimed the body doubles are used to hide Putin’s loss of control in the Kremlin.
This suggestion comes amid growing claims Putin is suffering a number of illnesses including Parkinson’s and cancer.
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday, Budanov claimed Ukrainian secret services had detected Putin body doubles standing in for him on a number of “special occasions” in the past, but this had become “usual practice” now.
“We know specifically about three people that keep appearing, but how many there are, we don’t know,” Budanow said.
“They all had plastic surgery to look alike.”
He continued: “The one thing that gives them away is their height. It’s visible in videos and pictures. Also gesturing, body language and earlobes, since they are unique for every person.”
Budanow asked: “The big question is whether the real Putin still exists?”