Baths in blood extracted from the antlers of Siberian deer. Excrements scooped up by loyal officers to evade evaluation. Mysterious absences for emergency medical remedy.
The claims made in regards to the well being of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who will likely be 70 in October, are lurid and macabre, in addition to unattainable to confirm.
However they illustrate how little is thought in regards to the well being of a pacesetter 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 pictures supplied by the Kremlin exhibiting him bare-chested in a bid to mission a picture of macho energy.
However scrutiny has now elevated with the warfare that Putin unleashed towards Russia’s neighbour.
– What are the claims? –
Essentially the most in-depth investigation into Putin’s well being was printed in April by the Russian-language information website Proekt, which used open-source knowledge to conclude that the president’s journeys to the southern resort metropolis of Sochi had been synchronised with these of numerous medical doctors.
They included specialist in thyroid most cancers Yevgeny Selivanov, whose visits to Sochi incessantly 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 had been baths in blood extracted from deer antlers in Siberia, a technique really helpful by his pal Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who’s from Siberia.
French weekly Paris Match this month mentioned that on visits to Saudi Arabia in 2019 and France in 2017, Putin was accompanied by a crew each time he went to the bathroom, to maintain his excretions so no overseas energy may medically analyse his urine or stools.
Much more sensationally, US publication Newsweek mentioned in June that Putin had undergone remedy for superior most cancers in April, citing American intelligence. The US Nationwide Safety Council denied the existence of such briefings.
Ukraine’s army intelligence chief, Main Common 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 somewhat than resting on the Black Sea resort.
– What info is there?
The one time the Kremlin confirmed Putin was struggling a well being downside was the autumn of 2012, when he cancelled a number of conferences and vanished from public life after being seen shifting awkwardly.
The Kremlin on the time mentioned he had pulled a muscle and one newspaper mentioned he aggravated a again downside throughout a stunt when he flew with cranes on a motorised hang-glider. However Proekt alleges it was right here that his main well being issues started.
The Covid-19 pandemic has additionally seen typically odd conduct from the Russian chief.
The Kremlin mentioned he had been vaccinated, however not like virtually all different world leaders, no pictures ever emerged of his jab. These coming into shut contact with him, together with journalists, had been topic to probably the most stringent precautions resembling days of quarantine.
Visiting world leaders who didn’t settle for the Kremlin’s stringent circumstances — resembling French President Emmanuel Macron and UN chief Antonio Guterres — had been banished to the top of a now notoriously lengthy desk.
Those that accepted the Kremlin’s calls for, together with a Russian Covid take a look at, and presumably quarantine, resembling Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had been allowed a handshake and even an embrace.
A gathering with Shoigu on Ukraine in late April additionally fuelled rumours with Putin tightly gripping the desk in what some noticed a bid to cease physique tremors. Quite a few movies have additionally proven considered one of Putin’s toes fidgeting throughout conferences.
The Kremlin has in the meantime postponed Putin’s annual direct line phone-in with the Russian individuals, normally a fixture in June, to a later date with out clarification.
Big efforts seem to have been made to guard Putin. In his 2020 annual information convention solely a handful of reporters — quarantined and examined beforehand — had been allowed within the room with him, whereas others massed in one other corridor.
In 2021, the occasion returned to its traditional 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 through video.
What does the Kremlin say?
The Kremlin, through Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, has vehemently denied all claims that the Russian president is affected by any severe well being downside.
International Minister Sergei Lavrov took the extremely uncommon step in an interview with French tv channel TF1 in late Might to disclaim Putin was in poor health, saying “I do not suppose that sane individuals can see on this particular person indicators of some form of sickness or ailment” and claiming that the Russian chief appeared in public “day-after-day”.
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.
“For those who suppose that one thing is improper with President Putin or one thing occurred, you’re, as we are saying, probably the most pitiful particular person on earth,” he mentioned.
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 anticipate him to hunt a 3rd consecutive mandate in 2024, after latest controversial constitutional modifications permitting him to take action.
There isn’t 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 in regards to the bodily and emotional well being of the one who runs it,” mentioned the editor-in-chief of Proekt, Roman Badanin.
“The entire planet doesn’t know if an individual who may destroy all of humanity by urgent a purple button is wholesome.”
TF1 – TELEVISION FRANCAISE 1