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Putin laughs off 'rumours' over his 10-day absence

Russian President Vladimir Putin smiles as he attends a meeting in Saint Petersburg, on March 16, 2015Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday laughed off days of frenzied “rumours” over his health and whereabouts as he reappeared in public after an unusually long 10-day absence. Emerging after days of speculation that he was either ill or had even been deposed in a palace coup, Putin met with the leader of ex-Soviet Kyrgyzstan just outside Saint Petersburg. The typically tardy Putin was two hours late but showed up looking relaxed with no visible signs of ill-health, quelling the rumours that had nevertheless highlighted the fragility of Russia’s tightly-controlled political system dominated by one man. “We would be bored if there were no rumours,” Putin said as he met Kyrgyzstan’s President Almazbek Atambayev at the sumptuous Konstantinov’s Palace outside Saint Petersburg.

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