Baths in blood extracted from the antlers of Siberian deer. Excrements scooped up by loyal officers to evade evaluation. Mysterious absences for emergency medical therapy.
The claims made concerning the well being of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who might be 70 in October, are lurid and macabre, in addition to inconceivable to confirm.
However they illustrate how little is understood concerning the well being of a frontrunner whose medical situation is prime to the way forward for Europe, all of the extra so after he ordered Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Over the course of Putin’s twenty years in energy, remarkably little has emerged about his well being, past the well-known photos supplied by the Kremlin exhibiting him bare-chested in a bid to mission a picture of macho power.
However scrutiny has now elevated with the conflict that Putin unleashed in opposition to Russia’s neighbour.
– What are the claims? ,
Probably the most in-depth investigation into Putin’s well being was printed in April by the Russian-language information web site Proekt, which used open-source information to conclude that the president’s journeys to the southern resort metropolis of Sochi have been synchronized with these of a lot of medical doctors.
They included specialist in thyroid most cancers Yevgeny Selivanov, whose visits to Sochi continuously coincided with Putin’s sudden absences from the general public eye over the previous years.
It additionally alleged that one of many strategies utilized by Putin to make sure longevity have been baths in blood extracted from deer antlers in Siberia, a technique advisable by his good friend Protection Minister Sergei Shoigu, who’s from Siberia.
French weekly Paris Match this month stated that on visits to Saudi Arabia in 2019 and France in 2017, Putin was accompanied by a staff at any time when he went to the bathroom, to maintain his excretions so no overseas energy might medically analyze his urine or stools.
Much more sensationally, US publication Newsweek stated in June that Putin had undergone therapy for superior most cancers in April, citing American intelligence. The US Nationwide Safety Council denied the existence of such briefings.
Ukraine’s navy intelligence chief, Main Basic Kyrylo Budanov, in a mid-Might interview with Sky Information claimed with out proof that Putin has most cancers.
Proekt additionally alleged that the Kremlin arrange a pretend workplace in Sochi that presupposed to appear like the one at his suburban Moscow residence to make it appear like he was working within the Russian capital reasonably than resting on the Black Sea resort.
– What info is there?
The one time the Kremlin confirmed Putin was struggling a well being drawback was the autumn of 2012, when he canceled a number of conferences and vanished from public life after being seen shifting awkwardly.
The Kremlin on the time stated he had pulled a muscle and one newspaper stated he aggravated a again drawback throughout a stunt when he flew with cranes on a motorized hang-glider. However Proekt alleges it was right here that his main well being issues started.
The Covid-19 pandemic has additionally seen generally odd conduct from the Russian chief.
The Kremlin stated he had been vaccinated, however not like virtually all different world leaders, no photos ever emerged of his jab. These coming into shut contact with him, together with journalists, have been topic to probably the most stringent precautions reminiscent of days of quarantine.
Visiting world leaders who didn’t settle for the Kremlin’s stringent circumstances — reminiscent of French President Emmanuel Macron and UN chief Antonio Guterres — have been banned to the top of a now notoriously lengthy desk.
Those that accepted the Kremlin’s calls for, together with a Russian Covid check, and presumably quarantine, reminiscent of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan have been allowed a handshake and even an embrace.
A gathering with Shoigu on Ukraine in late April additionally fueled rumors with Putin tightly gripping the desk in what some noticed a bid to cease physique tremors. Quite a few movies have additionally proven one in every of Putin’s toes fidgeting throughout conferences.
The Kremlin has in the meantime postponed Putin’s annual direct line phone-in with the Russian folks, normally a fixture in June, to a later date with out rationalization.
Large efforts seem to have been made to guard Putin. In his 2020 annual information convention solely a handful of reporters — quarantined and examined beforehand — have been allowed within the room with him, whereas others massed in one other corridor.
In 2021, the occasion returned to its ordinary format however with an unlimited distance between the entrance row of journalists and Putin’s desk. Even now, with the enterprise of presidency returning to regular in a lot of the world, Putin conducts most home enterprise by way of video.
What does the Kremlin say?
The Kremlin, by way of Putin’s, has vehemently denied all claims that the Russian president is affected by any severe well being drawback.
International Minister Sergei Lavrov took the extremely uncommon step in an interview with French tv channel TF1 in late Might to disclaim Putin was unwell, saying “I do not assume that sane folks can see on this individual indicators of some type of sickness or ailment” and claiming that the Russian chief appeared in public “daily”.
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, ostracised by the West however a frequent face-to-face interlocutor with Putin, insisted in a March interview with Japanese tv that the Russian chief was in impolite well being.
“In case you assume that one thing is mistaken with President Putin or one thing occurred, you’re, as we are saying, probably the most pitiful individual on earth,” he stated.
In latest public appearances — together with a discussion board on Peter the Nice and a gathering with Turkmenistan President Serdar Berdymukhamedov — Putin has additionally proven no signal of bodily frailty.
Why does it matter?
Putin stays the undisputed chief of Russia and most observers count on him to hunt a 3rd consecutive mandate in 2024, after latest controversial constitutional adjustments permitting him to take action.
There is no such thing as a apparent successor and, as commander in chief of the Russian forces, it was the choice of Putin to invade Ukraine on February 24.
“The nation doesn’t know a phrase of fact concerning the bodily and emotional well being of the one that runs it,” stated the editor-in-chief of Proekt, Roman Badanin.
“The entire planet doesn’t know if an individual who might destroy all of humanity by urgent a pink button is wholesome.”
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