Putin's disappearing act: Was he just trolling everyone? (+video)

March 17, 2015 4:13 AM

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MOSCOW — A smiling Vladimir Putin reappeared in public Monday after a still-unexplained 10-day absence that sent Russia's notorious rumor mill into overdrive, including speculation that he might be dead, sick, removed by a hard-line coup, or even attending the birth of his "secret love child."

It's a movie that veteran Kremlin-watchers have seen many times before. In Russia's opaque, leader-oriented political system, where one man is all that seems to stand between order and chaos, President Putin's slightest disappearance inevitably cues mass anxiety and waves of gossip. Like Soviet lead...

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