Ukraine’s military intelligence has doubled down on claims that Vladimir Putin uses at least three body doubles that will all be “killed” when no longer useful.
The Putin actors are kept under strict guard and “constant surveillance” by the Russian secret services and have no independent lives, spokesman Andriy Yusov has claimed.
His comments will fuel speculation on whether the real Vlad is fully in control of the Kremlin during the war against Ukraine.
It follows allegations this week that the dictator’s New Year Address broadcast just before midnight across Russia was made by an AI Putin.
The Russian president’s neck appeared out of sync with his body, as if his head was superimposed for the televised speech, observers claimed.
“This information [on Vladimir Putin using body doubles] is confirmed by many sources,” said Yusov.
“[It] is no longer some kind of news or something that needs to be proven in the world…The technology of doubles has been used before and is being used now, in particular by Vladimir Putin or his entourage, people who influence the situation in the Kremlin.”
He appeared to reference claims made by some Russian sources that Putin is dead and has been replaced by body doubles manipulated by shadowy Kremlin figures led by West-hating Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev.
Others believe doubles are used because Putin is seriously ill or hiding in a bunker, paranoid about his security.
Yusov’s boss Lt-Gen Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukrainian military intelligence directorate HUR and respected in the West for his role in the war, claimed last year that the real Putin has not been seen since June 2022.
Yusov said “we know about at least three” doppelgängers, and they were strictly under the control of Russian secret services.
“They live under constant surveillance,” he said in an interview with leading Ukrainian TV journalist Alesya Batsman.
“These are people who certainly do not belong to themselves.
“They are not some subjects who, under certain circumstances, can be used to implement various scenarios that different [power-brokers in the] Kremlin are considering for themselves.
“So it is clear that their fate is, let’s say, not enviable. [They undergo] constant training, including surgery in order to conform to some common [appearance]. And, of course, constant total control.”
He denied that the alleged Putin lookalikes are kept together.
“They are not kept in one place,” he said. “It is clear that the information on them is extremely closed and has not yet been fully established. These are people who do not belong to themselves, this is a fact.
“The fact that they do not live a free life is also true. They don’t stay in the same city together. They don’t play tennis, two Putins at the same time. They don’t drink tea together, well, such a picture we will not see.”
They were held in “a much closed regime, which is under constant surveillance by the Russian special services”.
He warned the body doubles may be disposed of once their role is over so they cannot tell how they have acted as the real Putin, fooling millions of ordinary Russians.
They may be paid for playing the role of Putin but also kept obedient by “fear” and “blackmail” if they step out of line.
When asked what happens to the doppelgängers once their job is done, Yusov said: “This is a very logical question, and I am sure that each of them has asked themselves this many times.
He claimed that “eliminating unnecessary people” was not a problem for the Russian special services, especially inside Russia.
“Of course, every month there are more and more such questions, because, well, Putin will leave sooner or later, one way or another,” he said.
The presenter asked: “Is a doppelgänger revolt possible?” He replied: “Not on their own, for sure. But they can be used by people who have information about them, yes, they can.”
Political analyst Professor Valery Solovey – who insists doubles are used because the real Putin died in October 2023 – showed video and pictures of Putin in his recent New Year address and from the same event at the start of 2022.
“You can easily see and, most importantly, hear two completely different people,” he posted.
The 2022 version appears to have a more bloated face compared with 2024 Putin.
Telegram channel General SVR, which has long claimed doubles are used, reported today that the main doppelgänger is due for new corrective surgery.
Doctors involved in bringing the president’s double into a state of ‘identity’ with the image of Vladimir Putin are preparing the double for an operation that should solve problems with the double’s cheekbones, sagging chin, wrinkles and eyelids.
“To do this, doctors need to exclude the backup from the work schedule for at least two days.”
Claims of Putin using stand-ins or body doubles are not new and have been previously denied by the Kremlin.