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WASHINGTON – Speculation is mounting regarding the whereabouts of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who hasn’t been seen in public since two important meetings were abruptly canceled more than a week ago, sources say, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

At the center of the mystery, is the state of his health and political standing.

There is even increasing speculation that he’s dead, or that he’s in Switzerland welcoming a love child from Alina Kabayeya, 32, a former Olympic gymnast.

A Russian spokesman, however, has disputed the death claim.

“Sorry, but he’s still alive,” said presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

He also denied the rumor from the Swiss tabloid.

“The information on a baby born to Vladimir Putin is false,” Peskov added. “I am going to ask people who have money to organize a contest on the best media rumor.”

DEBKAfile reported that Russian websites began running unconfirmed reports that Putin had died. It even said there was a short announcement of Putin’s death appearing briefly on Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s website, only to be removed 20 minutes later.

Get the full report on Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky wrote that Putin’s sudden disappearance “offers evidence enough” that Russia has become an “outright dictatorship.”

“No other kind of state would be so opaque, nor its citizens so preoccupied with their ruler,” Bershidsky said.

There have been prior instances in which past Russian leaders disappeared, such Putin’s predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, who would disappear for days due to a drinking problem and a weak heart.

The rumors of Putin’s demise are becoming so rampant that Andrei Illarionov, a former Putin assistant, told LiveJournal that he may have been overthrown by hardliners, even his chief of staff Sergei Ivanov, in what he termed a “palace coup.”

Peskov denies any palace coup, or that Putin is ill.

Asked by Reuters if Putin was ill, Peskov said that he was in good health.

“He has meetings all the time,” Peskov said. “He has meetings today, tomorrow. I don’t know what ones we will make public.”

However, a Kremlin website photo showing Putin meeting on Mar. 10 with a provincial government actually was an older picture.

In addition to the meeting in Astana that was to be held March 5, Putin also abruptly canceled a treaty signing event with the leader of South Ossetia in Moscow. South Ossetia, a breakaway province of Georgia to the south of Russia, seeks to be annexed to Russia following the Russian takeover there in 2008.

A 2008 Pentagon study assessed that Putin likely was suffering from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism.

The study was conducted by a group of medical researchers from the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, which specializes in long-term military strategy.

“The Russian president carries a neurological abnormality, a profound behavioral challenge identified by leader neuroscientists as Asperger’s Syndrome, an autistic disorder which affects all of his decisions,” the report said. “His primary form of compensation is extreme control and this is isomorphically reflected in his decision style and how he governs.”

Read the full report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.