Putin's absence: When the tsar vanishes

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Putin's absence

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Disappearing acts have served past Russian leaders well

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VLADIMIR PUTIN has not been verifiably seen in public since March 5th, and no one knows why. The president has postponed a planned visit on March 11th to Kazakhstan. Moscow is abuzz with rumours linking the Russian president's sudden reticence to the murder of Boris Nemtsov. Some hint that tension between Mr Putin and his Chechen surrogate, Ramzan Kadyrov, over the arrest of five Chechen men accused of killing Mr Nemtsov is to blame. Other rumours have been more outlandish. Andre Illarionov, a former advisor of Mr Putin's, wrote in a blog post that a coup might be underway against Mr Putin; a Swiss tabloid reported that he had flown to Switzerland to attend the birth of a love child with a Russian gymnast. Russia's government says Mr Putin has simply been feeling a bit unwell.
What is one to make of it all? In the absence of better information, one might ask what it has meant in the past when rulers of …<div class="og_rss_groups"></div>