Episode 18 – Putin is dead?!

Greetings, Comrades!

In our special anniversary episode, we do indeed deliver something special. This episode looks at a conspiracy theory that Putin might actually be dead…and what is uncovered, truly, is strange and weird. It shocked us, even – as this theory has way too much legitimacy behind it than it should have, and so, a thing that was supposed to be a fun anniversary episode, turned out to be one of investigative journalism. With examples. There’s also some discussion between me and Alice in the end, as this IS our official one year anniversary episode. But really, it’s overshadowed by what facts we managed to gather. And I obviously can’t say that something’s been definitely proven, it is a conspiracy theory after all – but it’s a really good one.

And today’s images are…well, Putin, during various years. It becomes relevant during the show, and you’ll most likely want to come back to this page and take a look, once you get there in the episode.

Putin in 1991

Putin in 1991

Putin in 2000

Putin in 2000

Putin in 2001
Putin in 2001
Putin in 2007
Putin in 2007
Putin in 2010
Putin in 2010
Putin in 2011
Putin in 2011
Putin in 2013
Putin in 2013
Putin in 2015
Putin in 2015
Comparison of Putin between 2010 and 2011
Comparison of Putin between 2010 and 2011
Curonian
About Curonian 4 Articles
The humble creator of this podcast - living in Riga, Latvia, and trying to give you the best that I can.

16 Comments on Episode 18 – Putin is dead?!

  1. Thank you for your concern. I was prepared this time and didn’t cut myself. I actually work in the construction business and haven’t been part of any army since the 90’s.

  2. I think I’m most impressed by the phrases you guys use in English. Its one thing to learn the language, but to learn the modern expression phrases is mind blowing to me.

  3. Hey Kristaps! Absolutely love your show. I lived in Uzbekistan until I was 7, and can definitely relate to a lot of your childhood podcast. Everything you talk about makes it easier to relate to my parents, who are from the USSR, and I enjoy discussing the things you talk about with then to get their perspective.

    If you ever feel like visiting Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the US, I would love to host you. There is a large Latvian population here, and one of my best childhood friends is Latvian, so I’m sure he’d love to meet and hang out with you as well. Milwaukee is not the most interesting place to visit if you come to America, but I thought I’d put the offer out there because it would be such a privilege to meet you.

    Looking forward to more episodes!

    • Hey, some of my relatives actually moved to Milwaukee during WW2. One was named Skaidrīte, and my grandmom actually visited her. She’s dead now, but I even am supposed to have relatives there. Also, Red Letter Media’s from there, and I’ve been trying to contact emigree Latvians since I started the show! So, please, let them know I exist, and give them my e-mail, I want their stories too!

  4. I am still catching up (just listened to Space Race), and greatly enjoying.
    Meantime saw your expression of concern on FB? People who are alive by definition are not history, and Putin is not someone to irritate judging by the list of bad things happening to journalists in Russia.

    I’d suggest asylum, but not safer here (open borders etc).
    Meantime, compliments to Alice on her short but very effective performances.

  5. The problem here is that there is still a massive gap between “Putin is frequently using body doubles” (I wouldn’t be surprised if even democratic leaders had them) and “Putin is dead”. As corrupt and autocratic modern Russia is, I don’t find this level of cover-up to be very possible. Even in the totalitarian Soviet era, people roughly knew who was in charge.

    The only direct evidence would be what Lyudmila said, but why would she choose to reveal this? She made it clear that she didn’t like her husband and she didn’t show much concern over the fate of Russia either. Plus, she claims to have been threatened. Now, if the powers that be wouldn’t hesitate assassinate someone who caused them a few millions loss in profit, why would they spare someone who has just revealed the incredible conspiracy they are running?

    • True, that’s why it’s still a conspiracy theory and not confirmed. Also, I think they wouldn’t kill Putin’s ex wife. That would look REALLY bad – and make Putin himself a failure in Russian minds, like – how can he protect his country, if he can’t protect his ex-wife kind of thing. But yeah, like I said at the end – it’s a theory, but I think it’s a good one.

  6. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proofs. While there maybe a working hypothesis that Putin is using body doubles, and why not, Putin dead is just too far to go.

    I know that Comrade Lenin was the target of assassination, and I have herd of Comrade Brezhnev nearly being blown up these kind of things do not stay secret even in Soviet Russia. Langley (the nice people at the CIA) sooner or later gets some clues, or at least disinformation.

    Any conspiracy has a “shelf life” a period of time where it can remain secret. As time goes by the odds of any conspiracy getting discovered grow. Some very bright folks in a major math(s) department actually came up with some life spans. Thus the “faked” moon landing by the USA should have been discovered and proved in about five years if I recall correctly. As this notion is still lacking in any serious confirmation the only possible conclusion one can accept that the Moon Landing were indeed real, and the Conspiracy Theory (CT) is no longer valid / disproved.

    The issue with a dead Putin is that as the days, months, years and Putins accumulate the odds of the whole thing coming crashing down in giant “oops aw shit” moment grow. More and more people get involved and with each added conspirator the ability to ensure secrecy diminishes in a mathematically calculable way. Sooner or later the math(s) are going be just too high and there goes your conspiracy crashing into the ground in burning pile of wreckage.

    As Putin has been around for so long, you would have a cast of hundreds at least who would be in on the fakery with each addition having the chance of telling the wrong person of the entire matter and our friends in MI6, the CIA, the DIA, or the Mossad getting wind. From there it only takes one talkative MP or Congressman telling his wife, girlfriend, prostitute the facts of the matter and the whole thing is out and about splashed across The Guardian, The New York Times, The Mirror, or some other outlet.

    A dead Putin with a body double doing the puppet work would just be too good a story not to run on page one. It it ledes, it bleeds as we say in English. And a dead Putin bleeds / ledes in way that gets a news outlet pride of place. There is no editor on God’s good green earth that would not sell his children and his sainted Grandmother to break that story, FSB/KGB/Checka goons not withstanding.

    Dead Putin is not a good working hypothesis. Even body doubles in a speaking role has issues. Again we have the issue of foreign intelligence agencies leaking critical information because, well, people are stupid.

    Any intelligence agency worth its cloak and daggers is going to have voice print analysis. And if our dear fake Putin is run through such a rubric, he is clearly found out. Thus our German deficient Putin gets slice, diced, and run through the Big Iron (huge, expensive, and very advanced computers) that the NSA has sitting around and “Hello, what’s this, not Putin for sure. Mr. US President have we got something for you to mull over before the G20” The US President tells his good buddy the UK Prime Minister about this, and the UK Prime Minister tells his Mistress, who then let’s the Daily Mail in on the information after the Daily Mail has helped the health of the Mistress’s bank account. (Ah Capitalism, such a wonderful system.)

    This is why I’m more inclined in Putin having a bad day, or just being lazy, or distracted or some other such explanation than Body Double showing up on the TV and possibly blowing the whole ruse to Hell and back again.

    Putin disappearing in times of crisis? Who knows? Maybe in Russia these things take longer for the glorious leader to sort out. Our W. Bush went absent for a full day after 9/11 by design. Whatever the Americans do Russians will do better? USA President goes missing for a day, Putin will fall off the face of the earth for two weeks! Good an explanation as any out there. I have a hard time believing that in times of crisis, the “old” Putin is fed into a shark tank as lunch, and substitute is put in play. That kind of change in a time of crisis has an excellent chance of going terrible wrong, “blowing up in your face” as we say in English.

    This is not to say “action hero” Putin might not be a body double or from time to time a mute “fake” Putin is put into play to keep killers and assassins guessing. That kind of thing sounds very Russian and entirely believable. But to put a “fake” Putin out there in front of any TV audience that could sniff him out, like the Germans, seems very reckless and not the kind of thing a Russian would do, at least not a KGB/FSB Russian who wants to control every possible outcome and the situation at hand completely. Sooner or later either Murphy’s Law or Karma is just going to hand your head to you with an nice big bow. The deception will fail spectacularly, “blow up.” It won’t be some poor journalist/podcaster living the far beyond with the foxes who breaks that little farce. It will be the BBC and other big media corporations loosing their minds and pointing out “that’s not Putin!” It will be the media sensation of the year at the very least.

    I can not believe the good, grey, cautious nomenclatura who still run Russia would take that kind of risk, the risk of being found out, which will happen because, well, if there is way to screw up in a really big way,it’s inevitable that humans will do so.

  7. Hey! It’s me from the Dan Carlin forums. Fun episode. While you’ve presented some convincing evidence that Putin is using body doubles, the evidence that he’s dead still only begins and ends with the claims made by his ex-wife.

    You offered the explanation that Putin had angered his former KGB bosses, who then had him killed. There’s an excellent documentary made by PBS, the U.S.’s equivalent to the BBC, called “Putin’s Way.” Although it does not address Putin’s body doubles, or the theory that he’s dead, it offers other explanations as to how Putin has remained in power.

    In the film, various journalists, Russian whistleblowers, and academics who specialize on modern Russia argue that Putin rose to power by promising his corrupt predecessors/mentors once he takes their place, starting with Sobchak and later Yeltsin.

    While serving under these corrupt officials, Putin of course, managed much of the corruption, and has profited enormously. (One thing I think that gets lost by many Americans who view him as a tough, badass leader is how much Putin has *personally* profited from the corrupt state that he oversees.) But before his bosses step down, they need to ensure the next guy in charge won’t prosecute them. Putin of course has prevented any such corruption investigations.

    The problem for Putin, as argued in “Putin’s Way,” is that he hasn’t figured out a way to step down from power, retain his ill-gotten gains, and avoid prosecution. He’s bullied too much money from too many powerful people. He can’t even risk appearing old or tired, and must maintain a youthful and vigorous look.

    • Neat! I got mentioned on the PDRP! It seems I left out an important word in my reply, which made it rather confusing. Missing words in [brackets].

      “In the film, various journalists, Russian whistleblowers, and academics who specialize on modern Russia argue that Putin rose to power by promising [to protect] his corrupt predecessors/mentors once he takes their place, starting with Sobchak and later Yeltsin.

  8. Hello! Wanted to say something about the Putin’s speeches comparision and the variation in german skills.

    The first speech in the German parliament, you say, his skills sound great and they do. I think, Putin prepared well for this speech practiced a lot, thus the good quality of his german. And it’s 15 years ago, so it is a valid point, that his skills were better then than now.

    Then there is Putin’s interview with Jörn Schönenborn, where Putin needs translation and mostly answers in Russian. Some things I thought of: Firstly, the guy interviewing him is a well known Transatlantician. Putin knew that that guy wants to show, that Putin’s Russia is acting badly. So it makes sense, that Putin replies in Russian, so he has more time to think and put his phrases very well.

    Then you show the interview, Putin did for Hubert Seipel, while driving through Moscow in a car. Seipel and Putin know each other long and well and the snippet you present is casual smalltalk. So Putin can freely speak in German with him. Seipel also did an interview with hard questions with Putin on that occasion and then Putin talks in Russian.

    The last snippet you show, where Putin talks with Willy Wimmer, a German politician who supports Putin’s actions overall and Putin also knows him and has no fear of Wimmer asking him hard questions. So, as with a friend, he freely talks in German with him and even translates for him.

    So when you compare Putins differing German skills and the language he chooses to speak in, there are good reasons for him for the choice of language.

    – Speaking in German parliament: Putin wants to show his good intentions to the Germans, is well prepared.

    – Speaking to pro NATO Jörg Schönenborn: Putin wants to take time to answer to hard questions and does not see Schönenborn as a well meaning person.

    – Speaking to Seipel casually: Seipel is a friend of Putin and it’s smalltalk.

    – Speaking to Wimmer: Wimmer always praises Putin’s actions as well thought out and is friendly towards him. So Putin can calm down and try his rusty German.

  9. Just catching up on the last few episodes that I am behind.

    Fantastic work once again!

    I have no doubt body doubles are being used, but I don’t buy the ‘he is dead’ thing. Not saying it’s impossible, just that I think its unlikely because the history of the unhappy marriage puts his ex-wife in the unreliable witness category. She needs some supporting evidence or it is just a case of ‘he left me’.

    One thing I found hilarious was the degeneration of his German! I was legitimately laughing out loud there. How did they think they were going to get away with that! HAHAHA

    Keep up the fantastic work, both of you.

  10. I just wanted to make a shout out for Alice. I love your yarn cave full of books. While listening to this episode I was working on my needlepoint which is pretty much all I do in the dead of winter here in Chicago. I applaud you for occasionally getting out of your cave to work with K on this podcast. Thanks for all your hard work.

  11. No idea if you (Kristaps) read these, but the DCF has been closed. If you want to continue your occasional interventions of our discourse, go to the Martin Hash Forum.

  12. “Vladimir Putin’s Dead” doesn’t quite have the same ring as Bauhaus’ (the band) “Bela Legosi’s Dead”. *furiously writes lyrics to song*.

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