Moscow, Feb 27 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin has revealed that an idea of having a body double was floated for the sake of ensuring his safety in the early 2000s, but he rejected it, a media report said on Thursday.
“I discarded the idea of any doubles,” Putin told TASS news agency in an interview for the project entitled “20 Questions with Vladimir Putin”.
“This was during the toughest time of our war against terrorism,” he added.
Putin recalled that in the early 2000s, he had been advised that a body double should substitute for him at events where he might have been at risk.
The idea was rejected once and for all.
Putin and his interviewer found out that an Internet search for “Putin’s double” was among the most popular.
The public at large often expressed similar assumptions as far back as 20 years ago, Tass News said in the report.
On December 24, 2001, a woman from the Kostroma Region asked this question during a live broadcast. She speculated that a double might be helpful when holding very important meetings, even top-level ones.
Putin then replied that he had no political decoy.
Another similar incident occurred in Sochi in August 2009, when Putin and then Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev decided to take a stroll along the waterfront among locals and tourists.
A woman then remarked that the two were really doubles of the President and Prime Minister, to which Medvedev replied: “We are not doubles, we are real.”
In August 2000, Yevgeny Murov, then head of Russia’s federal bodyguard service, the FSO, told TASS in an interview that Putin had no doubles.