Where in the World Was Vladimir Putin?

A mere 11 days out of the public eye was all it took for Vladimir Putin to cause the entirety of the world to speculate as to what the heck the Russian leader was up to — and whether or not we’d ever see him again.

Out of the public spotlight since March 5, Putin apparently reappeared in St. Petersburg on Monday, meeting with Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambayev.

Though some of Putin’s meetings were canceled during his prolonged absence from the public eye, the Russian leader laughed off all the rumors that emerged about his whereabouts.

After all, Vlad says, the world would be pretty boring without gossip. Some of the juiciest rumors that swirled around are as follows:

Vladimir Putin is seriously ill.

After all, the Kremlin already had to deny reports that Putin suffered from pancreatic cancer, a disease that takes the lives of most who fight it.

But, Russian leaders have reiterated that Putin’s health is just fine – as if you couldn’t tell by all those super sweet topless pictures he’s littered across the Internet.

The army overthrew Vladimir Putin.

Putin disappeared shortly after the murder of Boris Nemtsov, one of the Kremlin’s harshest, most vocal critics.

While Putin condemned the killing, anyone with a slightly open mind couldn’t help but think he was behind the hit – at least somehow.

While Russian leaders have notoriously been able to get away with what they want (at least to some degree), even the most ruthless dictators can only go so far before they’re stopped. So, some speculated Putin lost control of his country.

But, nothing to see here, folks; the army loves Uncle Vlad just as much as you and I do.

Vladimir Putin was in Switzerland for the birth of his anchor baby.

Saving the best for last, others have said that, duh, Putin was in Switzerland with his 32-year-old girlfriend, Alina Kabaeva, who gave birth to the couple’s daughter.

Apparently, it’s their third child – but no one knows because this is Vladimir Putin we’re talking about.

If this rumor turned out to be true, Putin could have some sort of legal claim to become a Swiss citizen should he choose to leave Russia (or otherwise be forced to flee). Spokespeople denied this rumor, too, which makes sense, considering Putin is a God and therefore unable to mate with mere mortals.

Still, Putin’s prolonged absence left many to speculate as to what would happen next, should Uncle Vlad be forced from power.

After all, the man has consolidated the country’s power while simultaneously fleecing it of a lot of its riches throughout the past 15 years (some even think Putin may be the richest man in the world, which should be surprising, considering he pulls in about $145,000 a year as Russia’s leader).

Who Will Lead Russia Into The Future?

No matter how strong Putin is, he’s still just one man. And, sure, he has likely hooked up a whole bunch of his cronies with riches beyond their wildest imaginations, too.

But, what about the 143 million-plus other Russians? It appears as though you can only keep robbing people for so long before they scratch their heads and figure out this arrangement isn’t that fair.

Putin is certainly a calculated enough man to know that the moment he loses power in Russia, the more likely he is to wind up behind bars. So, maybe a trip to Switzerland would make the most sense, what, with that anchor baby and all.

Either way, Putin’s got quite the job ahead of him if he wants to avoid prosecution in perpetuity. No one holds power forever. As such, he’s probably better off trying to figure out who should replace him now.

Just like Boris Yeltsin transferred power to Putin in return for a promise of non-prosecution, one could reasonably suspect the clock is winding down before Putin is forced to do the same.

Remember, Vlad, what good is all that money if you can’t spend it?