'Immortal' Vladimir Putin and the other conspiracies that keep the Russian President in power

Photos ‘reveal’ the Russian president has been around for hundreds of years. The truth could be more sinister than that

The cult of personality surrounding Vladimir Putin, cultivated through shirtless photo opportunities and bolstered by foreign wars, keeps going from strength to strength.

And if you’ll believe the Russian President just “found” an ancient amphora after descending to the sea bed in a Bond-style miniature submarine, you may also buy into new conspiracy theories that Mr Putin is in fact immortal.

A recent “truth revealed” by the Disclose.tv website puts images of the surprisingly youthful-looking 63-year-old alongside photos of other men purporting to be from 1920 and 1941 respectively – inviting the reader to compare the three.

The concept that Mr Putin is immortal “and the internet has proof” has itself been around for a while. For most, it is a bit of fun.

Putin’s approval rating climbs to 88%

But despite his 15 years in the presidential limelight and being named the most powerful man in the world, seasoned Moscow observers still feel they don’t know who Vladimir Putin really is.

For some, the “mythism” surrounding the Russian President is actively propagated by public figures in the Moscow – the conspiracy behind the conspiracy, as it were.

And in a more sobering assessment of recent developments, the FT’s Courtney Weaver thinks Mr Putin offers a glimpse into the future for the US – if it elects Donald Trump as president.