Putin had Lady Melisandre in Mercedes: Russians mock strongman leader over mystery woman
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Putin had Lady Melisandre in Mercedes: Russians mock strongman leader over mystery woman

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Pictures were flashed around the world after the Kremlin strongman appeared to obey a hand signal from the mystery passenger to shut the door so her face could not be seen. 

Now one blogger has suggested he had tried to hide that Lady Melisandre from Game of Thrones was his passenger at Spaso-Preobrazhensky monastery on Valaam island in the north of Russia.

And Anna Vellikok provided mock-up pictures to prove her point. 
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"The truth is that Putin just did not want to reveal that he was carrying Lady Melisandra with him," she wrote. 

Another suggested the Russian nuclear briefcase - which could unleash atomic war on the West - was hidden in a visible red bag behind the driver's seat. 

"It is clear that 'the woman in the red dress' was a FSO (Federal Protective Service) guard," said the commenter. 
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"But in this case - the red bag held by the woman in red dress - may well be the nuclear briefcase."

It was the second time in a week that he had a woman wagging her finger at him: pictures showed Angela Merkel doing the same at the G20 summit in Germany.

Val Michel tweeted: "The secret of the lady in red. Putin has brought a true Angel to Valaam - Merkel."
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There were complaints that the footage showed Putin had been driving with a seat belt, while another meme says the mystery woman was just pointing a befuddled Putin - who she called by his fond name - in the direction of the monastery: "Volodya, Valaam is there."

The official explanation over the mystery figure in Putin's car is that she - or he - was part of Putin's security detail. 

But press secretary Dmitry Peskov added to the speculation by admitting there are "many unknown people" around the president. 
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Earlier he said he had "no idea" as to the identity of the "Vlady in Red".

An official explanation that the fire was "male" was disputed by bloggers who believed it was a "woman's hand" seen in the picture, gesturing to him.

Newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets reported that "experts" did "not trust Peskov who spoke about a security guard."
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Boris Ratnikov, retired general-major in the FSO which guards Putin, said: "It is not likely that it has been a security service member. 

"The most easy explanation that can be given. 

"According to protocol, the officer of security service can never occupy the back seat - he must be next to the guarded person, better at the front, so his movements are not limited."
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Security have to be "ready to jump out, to start shooting, to get close the guarded person with their bodies. 

"Most likely it was a person Putin needed to talk to, but in order to avoid extra explanations, he or she was called 'a guard'. 

"Red colour of the clothes is also a doubtful point, it can't be at the person from FSO."
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Others insisted that Putin would not open the door for a guard. 

Igor Sokolov commented: "Such a good guard. Let the guarded person out but stayed in the car.... Good decision, what if some shooting starts?"
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Meanwhile, blogger Anna Mongyat from independent TV Rain, lamented that Putin deems he cannot show his lover to the world. 

She claimed other Russian leaders also hide their real partners. 

Divorced from Lyudmila Putin, the former Russian first lady and mother of his two adult daughters, he is obsessively secret about his private life, and while he has hinted that he is "loved" he has refused to shed any light on any new woman in his life. 
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Speculation has been rife for almost a decade that he has a relationship with Olympic gold winning rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, 34.

"Poor people, they have to grab normal human happiness by tiny homeopathic portions," said Mongyat. 

"Putin, who can't go with his beloved woman to the island and has to act publicly in the unfavourable role of a 'granddad and a single man'."
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She claimed "everybody knows about a certain gymnast, about their children, and about other volleyball players."

Most state owned Russian TV channels cut out the sequence where the woman - whose face is not seen - waves her fingers at the president to shut the door again.

But the footage led to immediate speculation that Putin was with a new woman in his life. 
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Independent TV Rain said of the incident: "It looks like he or she is dressed in red. Supposedly the passenger is a woman."

In fact, the face of the person is not seen, and observers said it was the bag - rather than a dress - that was red. 
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