In a bid to once again become Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin has pledged to lift his country’s sagging economy, nip corruption in the bud, and smooth fractured relations with regional neighbors.
But according to the blogosphere and a Russian magazine, so far all the lifting, nipping and smoothing Putin’s done has focused on his face.
Putin, like Kim Kardashian before him, is the latest celebrity to cause wild speculation online about whether he recently had some work done.
Putin, who turns 59 next month, appeared at an event over the weekend to accept his party’s presidential nomination. His skin looked smooth and taught, visibly free of wrinkles and bags under his eyes.
The Russian magazine New Times ran an article earlier this month titled “What Has Happened with Putin’s Face?” Four plastic surgeons told the magazine he likely had undergone plastic surgery – receiving Botox injections in his forehead, an eyelift, and cheek injections.
Putin served as Russia’s president from 2000 to 2008. Banned from running for a third consecutive term, Putin has been prime minister for the past four years and is widely considered to be pulling the strings of his protégé and current president Dmitry Medvedev. As prime minister Putin organized a change to the Russian Constitution that would extend the president’s term to six years.
In his time as president and prime minister, the former KGB officer has cultivated an image as a healthy he-man, who does judo, hunts tigers, dives for sunken treasure, and fishes with his shirt off.
It’s not the first time observers have speculated about the premier’s face. In October 2010, he was photographed with a bruise under his eye and what appeared to be makeup during a press conference in Ukraine. His spokesman, at the time, blamed bad lighting for Putin’s awkward countenance.