Vladimir Putin has not been seen publicly since March 5. Pictures of him meeting with women on the March 8 Women's Day were apparently taken earlier. Putin has cancelled key meetings, while his press secretary rejects rumors of ill health (including a leak from an elite clinic that Putin suffered a stroke). In the meantime, the narrative of the Nemtsov assassination continues to unravel as the presumed Chechen assassins complain to two human rights activists that they were tortured into confessing and they expressed fear that they would be murdered like the so-called sixth conspirator. (Who let the human rights activists into the special Lefortovo prison where the suspects are being held?) Special communications helicopters of the presidential administration have been seen landing at the FSB Lubyanka headquarters and at the Kremlin. Respectable newspapers speak of an open rift between the brutal leaders of Chechnya (Kadyrov) and the Russian FSB (Federal security service).
At a minimum, the Russian leadership is going through a period of confusion and uncertainty. We will know soon if it is as serious as the rumor mil suggests.