What’s fallacious with Vladimir Putin? – POLITICO

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On no account think about one thing in politics until it’s formally denied.

And even then, with regards to Vladimir Putin’s properly being, you probably can nonetheless be forgiven for being at a loss about what to think about, given the bewildering frenzy of speculation over whether or not or not one factor is fallacious with the Russian president.

The rumor mill regarding the now unusually puffy-faced 69-year-old has reached such a fever pitch that Abroad Minister Sergey Lavrov this week felt it important to shoot down any suggestion that Putin was sick. “You already know, President Putin appears in public day-to-day. You can see him on the screens, be taught his speeches, take heed to his speeches,” he acknowledged, speaking to French media TF1.

“I don’t suppose sane people can discern any sort of symptom of sickness on this man,” Lavrov continued.  

Sane or not, media have for months speculated over the state of the Russian chief, deciphering all of the issues from his bloated look as a sign of steroid-use, to implying the Russian chief has Parkinson’s and most cancers. Video footage exhibiting Putin fiercely gripping a desk whereas wanting uncomfortable all through a present meeting, making twitchy hand gestures and seeming to limp all through Russia’s Victory Day parade, have solely added to this free-for-all amongst armchair physicians.

Medical docs have to date argued none of that’s sturdy ample to level Putin is ailing, and solely an up-close evaluation could affirm the rumors. Intelligence specialists have largely agreed.  

In truth, the rumors ought to sting for a frontrunner so obsessed collectively together with his virile image. Putin has prolonged tried to cast himself as a strongman, in every sense of the time interval. His reveals of hyper-masculinity have become notorious internationally — from utilizing on horseback half-naked in Siberia, to firing mannequin new Kalashnikovs in Moscow and having fun with ice hockey with Belarusian chief Alexander Lukashenko in St. Petersburg.

Nevertheless this sport of whack-a-mole throughout the president’s properly being — as rumors flooring inside the press and the Kremlin scrambles to stamp them out — is nothing new. This is a short lived summary of the very best moments when Putin’s properly being acquired right here into question over time, and the way in which the federal authorities sought to shut them down.

Sporting tumbles

The incidents: 

Putin likes to enterprise an image of himself as a keen sportsman, nevertheless the reality has not always gone so simply for the Russian chief.

Once more in September 2012, Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported that Putin had harm himself all through a hang-gliding flight that had exacerbated an harm, sparking speculation regarding the chief’s once more. After suspending a high-profile worldwide go to and allegedly being seen sporting a once more brace, Putin reportedly readied himself for once more surgical process.

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Vladimir Putin | Alexey Nikolsky/AFP by the use of Getty Photos

Normally, he seems to local weather bumps pretty successfully. In 2017, all through an ice hockey match, Putin instantly fell off his skates onto his once more, skidding all through the ice collectively together with his ft inside the air. And that wasn’t the one time he went down. In 2019 he face-planted on the ice all through a victory lap following a sport.

The Kremlin response: 

Amid critiques of the hang-gliding accident in 2012, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov knowledgeable Reuters that Putin did not have a once more draw back. “This does not correspond to actuality,” Peskov acknowledged on the time, insisting he had merely suffered a “sports activities actions harm.”

Putin’s ally Lukashenko later acknowledged the Russian president’s once more factors stemmed from an incident related to judo. That solely extra burnished Putin’s hardman sporting credentials.


The incidents:

Putin’s fairly a number of high-level conferences all through his gigantic 6-meter-long desk have spurred copious net memes, however as well as grew to change into an emblem of his hyper-cautious methodology in direction of COVID-19.

In November 2020, Putin was addressing his finance minister at a digital meeting regarding the coronavirus pandemic when he broke out in a coughing match. “Excuse me,” he acknowledged, whereas he tried to keep up speaking.

Then in September 2021, when dozens in his inside circle contracted COVID-19, Putin was pressured to self-isolate for two weeks, prompting him to implement draconian pointers for all those who sought to fulfill him in-person, along with mandatory two-week quarantines.

This nervousness about sitting too close to interlocutors raised speculation that Putin is perhaps in a extraordinarily inclined group, or could actually fear any person turning his private ideas in opposition to him and exposing him to a lethal toxin.

The Kremlin response:

The Kremlin immediately edited out the worst of the coughing match from 2020 — along with the “excuse me” — however as well as denied it was extreme. “The president apologized and continued the meeting practically with out pausing,” reported TASS.

As for rumors that Putin’s prolonged desk confirmed his acute fear of contracting COVID-19, Peskov acknowledged the desk was an “solely epidemiological measure.”

Mysterious chilly

The incident:

In 2018, with just one month to go until a significant presidential election, Putin disappeared from public sight for two days. After earlier wall-to-wall TV safety of the Russian chief on the advertising marketing campaign path, visiting factories and meeting schoolchildren, he instantly canceled a string of appearances, along with an event at Moscow’s VDNH exhibition.

The Kremlin response:

In a unusual admission, Peskov knowledgeable reporters on the time the president had “a cold” and was actually ailing. “It’s winter,” he added.

And whereas neutral Russian outlet TV Rain — which has since been shuttered — found proof Putin was moreover ditching a deliberate journey to the Far East, Peskov denied this was canceled, given it had not at all been launched publicly.

Oncologists and antler baths

The incident:

On April 1, Russian investigative outlet Proekt found proof that Putin does the reality is endure from continuous once more ache. It moreover found that an oncologist had visited Putin 35 events in 4 years, spending 166 days in residence with him — and that completely different specialist medical docs who sometimes help diagnose thyroid sicknesses along with most cancers moreover paid him visits.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin sitting on a mountain ridge | Alexey Nikolsky/AFP by the use of Getty Photos

U.S. film director Oliver Stone, who has interviewed Putin a variety of events, knowledgeable podcaster Lex Fridman that Putin had battled most cancers, nevertheless thought he had “licked” it. A former British spy who labored in Russia for a number of years, Christopher Steele, acknowledged Putin was “severely ailing” and claimed his sickness was “a part” in Russia invading Ukraine.

On the weirder aspect of points, the Proekt investigation moreover alleged the Russian chief enjoys bathing in blood extracted from Altai purple deer horns based on the recommendation of his now-Safety Minister Sergei Shoigu.

The Kremlin response:

This time, Peskov stepped in as soon as extra to deny Proekt’s claims additional forcefully. On the very same day the investigation emerged, he generally known as critiques that Putin had ever had most cancers or been operated on for it “fiction and untruth.”

“Very ailing”

The incident:

In May, New Traces Journal claimed to have acquired its fingers on a hidden recording of an oligarch “close to the Kremlin” who acknowledged in mid-March this 12 months that Putin is “very ailing with blood most cancers.” However it stays unclear what exactly the supposed oligarch’s agenda was — he went on to say “all of us hope” Putin dies — or how shut he truly is to the president.

The Kremlin response:

The Kremlin did not reply on to the allegations, nor did the New Traces report speak about whether or not or not it had contacted the federal authorities for a request for comment.

Nevertheless New Traces went on to report that throughout the same time as a result of the recording was made, an e mail was despatched to every regional director of Russia’s FSB security service instructing them to not think about rumors regarding the president’s “terminal state of affairs.”


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