For the past decade and a half, Russian President Vladimir Putin has rarely been absent from newsreels. Small wonder, then, that 11 days without a verified sighting of him has sparked conspiracy theories to rival those about the moon landings.
Putin met Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev in St Petersburg on Monday, and appeared before media just before 1300 local time (0600 ET). What would normally be a straightforward, regular meeting, accompanied by a handshake photocall, gained huge significance as the world's media attempted to get a look at the President.
It's not as if Putin hasn't been busy. He was the star of a documentary aired on Russian television on Sunday night, to mark the anniversary of the annexation of Crimea last year. In it he said for the first time that Russia was prepared to put nuclear weapons on standby over the conflict -- an extremely worrying thought for the West.