Putin Has a Cold, Is Canceling Some Appearances, Kremlin Says

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  • Kremlin makes rare admission of presidential illness
  • Putin is running in March elections for fourth Kremlin term

How Putin Became the Symbol of Russian Power

Russian President Vladimir Putin, renowned for macho stunts that often involve taking his shirt off, is feeling under the weather.

“The president has a cold,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call Tuesday, adding that Putin, whose voice appeared hoarse at meetings a day earlier, would limit his public appearances while continuing to work. “It’s winter.”

Putin, 65, is all but certain to win a fourth term in presidential elections next month to extend his rule to 2024. State television showed him plunging into the icy waters of a lake in freezing temperatures in January as part of Russian Orthodox Epiphany traditions. After the White House released details of U.S. President Donald Trump’s health check last month, Peskov ruled out publishing medical reports on Putin, whom he described as “absolutely healthy.”

The Kremlin later Tuesday released details of Putin meeting with diamond miner Alrosa’s chief executive officer, Sergey Ivanov. The president won’t attend a planned event at Moscow’s VDNKh exhibition center on Wednesday and will meet instead with participants either at the Kremlin or at his residence outside Moscow, Peskov said.

Putin’s also abandoned plans to go to Russia’s far east from Feb. 19-22, the independent TV Rain reported Tuesday, citing two unnamed people close to the trip’s organizers. Peskov denied that the visit, which hasn’t been officially announced, was canceled, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news service.

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