Reports that Vladimir Putin has told officials to fly relatives living abroad back to Russia, leaving many worried about a call of war, are being downplayed by a leading rumour-busting website.

The Daily Star reports local media as saying Putin wants Russian officials and politicians to return to the "Fatherland" now.

The call extended to elderly relatives overseas and children, even if they are in the middle of the school year.

However, has reported that althouh Putin did say it, it was "an informal request for Russian officials abroad to return home, but not because they believe war is imminent".


"The request seems to have been prompted by an issue of public relations within Russia, not by concerns that war is about to break out," the website states.

"The Daily Mail cited the Russian-language news website Znak, which posted a piece entitled "Home!" Translated from Cyrillic, the piece said that Putin's administration had issued an informal request, not an order, that Russian officials and their family members who are living abroad return home.

"The piece discussed not a pending military conflict, but a public perception problem stemming from Russian elites' sending their children to be educated at expensive Western schools while their homeland is in the midst of challenging the West and jockeying with the US for global power.

"It does not seem to be a red flag that World War III is imminent."

Earlier, the Daily Star reported the edict applied to "administration staff, regional administrators, politicians of all levels and employees of public corporations" and that "anyone who fails to act will put their chances of promotion at risk".

Russian political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky told the Star: "This is all part of the package of measures to prepare elites to some 'big war'."

It comes as relations with the West continue to deteriorate.

Putin has cancelled his trip to Paris scheduled for October 19 after the two countries fell out over the bombing of Aleppo, Syria.

"With Russia, France has a major disagreement on Syria," French President Francois Hollande said. "The Russian veto to the French security resolution prevented putting a stop to the bombing and the declaration of a ceasefire."

This month, Putin ordered more than 40 million people, or about a third of the country, to take part in a civil defence exercise that involved steps to take in case of a nuclear war.

Russia reportedly has built enough nuclear bunkers to house Moscow's 12 million residents.

However, stated that although tensions between Russia, the United States, and other Western countries were high, "we found no sound evidence that Putin was 'ordering' officials and their families to return as part of preparation for "World War III".

"These seem to be fear-mongering claims conflating various and possibly unrelated Russian domestic affairs with international tensions."