Putin's visit to China sparks fresh body double suspicion

People online believe that the Russian President has sent a body double to China.

Russian President Vladimir Putin China body double
© Contributor / GETTYIMAGES
Russian President Vladimir Putin China body double

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived at the Beijing Capital International Airport yesterday, Tuesday 18 October, and footage of his movements has once again set off a wave of speculation about his health.

Discover our latest podcast

Specifically, X users are questioning whether this is really Putin - whose travel opportunities have been very limited since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for him earlier this year. So, why is Putin in China, and is he using a body double?

Russia and China’s relationship

When Putin visited Beijing for the Winter Olympics opening at the beginning of last year, he and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a ‘no limits’ partnership between Russia and China. This arrangement has served both countries as they have been frozen out by other countries - at least each has an ally in the other.

Indeed, Putin is visiting China - along with 130 other representatives for different countries - to attend the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

However, an analysis of business activity across Chinese and Russian border zones suggests that the actual level of trade between the two countries does not match the political rhetoric. As the BBC pointed out, the bridge built between Heihe and Blagoveshchensk to celebrate a new era of China-Russia business isn’t that busy: an hour can go by without a single vehicle crossing.

However, both Putin and Xi Jinping have shown willingness to make their relationship work. Putin has called China’s leader his ‘friend’ and he was given a very warm reception when he touched down in Beijing. A red carpet was rolled out, and Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao and a group of officials were present to shake Putin’s hand and welcome him to their country.

Was it really Putin, or a body double?

However, as footage of Putin exiting his aircraft and taking his first few steps circulate online, rumours are emerging that the man in the videos is not actually the Russian President.

Jason Jay Smart, an author for Kyiv Post, whose bio on X reads ‘2010 Russia lifetime ban for working against Putin’ remarked:

Do you think it is REALLY Vladimir Putin, or “Putin-the-body-double,” arriving to beg for Chinese assistance??
Looking at his movement & knowing Putin’s fear of COVID: I think this is the body-double Putin.

Many have responded to this post in agreement. One user, @nanomedia1, commented:

The last time we saw him, his left arm seemed to be immobile. Body double. This coward is too cowardly to travel.

This is far from the first time that there has been speculation over the Russian President’s use of a body double. However, this theory has never been confirmed, and not everyone is convinced. As @KvidarK asks: 'Would Putin dare send a double to Xi?'

Recent reports about a red spot on his forehead had people questioning his health, and a Russian Telegram channel recently went so far as to claim that the Russian President’s death is ‘imminent’ after a ‘sharp deterioration in his health’.

There have been rumours that Russia is looking for a replacement. But who could replace this brutal leader, who has lived by the lessons his tough childhood taught him throughout his career as a KGB spy and vicious politician?

Read more:

Vladimir Putin’s blunt warning for the US: ‘It will be a completely different war’

Vladimir Putin: Russian president has got a new closest ally, here is all we know on Marat Khusnullin

UK intelligence reveals Vladimir Putin's Ukraine winter attack plans

Sources used:

BBC: Putin in China aiming to strengthen anti-West coalition

Newsweek: Putin's China Trip Sparks Body Double Conspiracy Theory

Vladimir Putin: New calendar of Russian leader sparks health concerns for this bizarre reason Vladimir Putin: New calendar of Russian leader sparks health concerns for this bizarre reason