Business Insider Quotes FPI Eurasia Analyst Hannah Thoburn on Vladimir Putin

In "Here are the Best Theories About Why Putin Has Disappeared," Business Insider reporters Jeremy Bender and Armin Rosen write:

Something may be afoot in Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, known for his frequent and carefully calibrated media appearances, has not been definitively spotted in public since his March 5 meeting with the Italian prime minister....

This absence has prompted rumors and speculation across the Russian blogosphere. "Putin has died" is now trending across the Russian internet, but there is no credible information citing what, if anything, might be afflicting him.

This kind of speculation may be natural given the secretive and autocratic nature of Putin's leadership. "These are the kinds of things that happen when a governing system is so dependent on the image of and physical person of one man," Hannah Thoburn, a Eurasia analyst with the Foreign Policy Initiative, told Business Insider. "This is certainly not the first time that similar rumors have happened. They happened under Yeltsin as well (although he really was in very poor health)."

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