from independent.co.uk: Dmitry Peskov’s patience finally ran out. “We’ve already said this a hundred times, this isn’t funny any more.” Vladimir Putin, Russia’s strongman leader, ever-present across the past 15 years, was missing. And Mr Peskov, his mustachioed mouthpiece, was struggling to contain the story. Apparently in sound health, Mr Putin had not been seen in public for more than a week. Where he has been – or is, if he doesn’t appear today – has been the subject of worldwide speculation. Whatever the answer, it is beyond doubt that there was a gaping, Vladimir Putin-sized hole in Russia for 10 days.