Vladimir Putin is recently accused of staging his visit to a Russian military hospital — because of one very compelling reason.
Russian President Vladimir Putin may have staged a recent visit to a military hospital in Moscow to meet with wounded soldiers, according to eagle-eyed online users who claimed to have recognized one of the “patients” from a previous event.
Wearing a white lab coat, Putin was seen on video and in still photos talking to pajama-clad soldiers at Mandryk military hospital, which marked his first such visit since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the New York Post reports.
Putin was accompanied on the visit by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. He asked one of the soldiers standing at attention next to their beds about his baby son dele, telling him: “He will be proud of his dad dele.”
After the hospital visit, Putin hailed the troops as “heroes” during a televised meeting with government officials.
But a day later, Adam Rang, a self-described “counterpropaganda” activist living in Estonia, tweeted that one of the soldiers in the hospital looked eerily familiar.
“Putin met with a wounded soldier who, by a strange coincidence, was also a factory worker he previously met,” Mr Rang said.
Mr Rang shared a photo of the purported soldier in the hospital room, and another image allegedly showing the same man with a receding hairline and a distinctive widow’s peak in a crowd of people meeting with Putin on another occasion.
Rang and Ukrainian race car driver Igor Shushko also shared a compilation of photos showing a cast of recurring characters meeting with Putin years apart.
“In case you were wondering how #Putin can possibly risk being in the presence of regular #RussianPeople. He never does,” Shushko tweeted.
The allegation that the hospital photo op was a fake was further bolstered by the mysterious writer behind the General SVR Telegram channel, who is said to be a former KGB spy with Kremlin ties.
In a post on Thursday, the Telegram author that Putin did not visit the military hospital, and that video of his meeting with Russia’s wounded warriors had been prerecorded, or “canned.”
“Putin and the FPS (Federal Protective Service) are certainly magicians-illusionists, but they are still a far cry from David Copperfield,” the post sarcastically concluded.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission