Vladimir Putin’s health in focus again is a survivor and has the uncanny ability to overcome crises to his rule that now spans well over two decades. Putin is very fond of holding on to power and has defied any attempts challenging his unrivaled authority in the Kremlin. He consistently follows the instincts of a former KBG officer who remains culturally and psychologically wedded to the concept of Soviet Union that no longer exists. The defunct Soviet Union is undoubtedly still the most powerful influence on his personality, policies and actions. Naturally suspicious and lacking trust in everyone he is known to keep secrets even from his closest associates and is said to studiously avoid phones and computers over surveillance fears. Despite him being under multifarious forms of surveillance Putin is extremely cautious in his words and hides things to an exceptional level. However, Putin is human and is reported to be under constant strain due to the Russian-Ukrainian war that has caused a global crisis.
The latest about Putin the man is that he is suffering from a mystery illness that is tightly held secret by the Kremlin but has aroused repeated rumours about the state of his health. Putin will be 70 in coming October and at his age concerns about his health are quite natural. His age and constant anxiety associated with his adventurous foreign policy has resulted in close scrutiny about his health and some information has started to emerge that are minutely dissected. Apparently, the latest and rather informative information has been provided by the Russian-language news site Proekt, which used open-source data to conclude that the president’s trips to the southern resort city of Sochi were synchronised with those of a large number of doctors. Proekt report was based on leaked travel documents that showed that Putin had received regular visits from an oncologist and from two otolaryngologists, whom it was mentioned would often make a first diagnosis of a thyroid condition.
The piece on Putin included mentioning many specialists particularly thyroid cancer specialist Yevgeny Selivanov, whose frequent visits to Sochi, Putin’s favourite holiday haunt, coincided with Putin’s sudden absences from the public eye over the past years. It also alleged that one of the methods used by Putin to ensure longevity were baths in blood extracted from deer antlers in Siberia, a method recommended by his friend Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who is from Siberia. Other sources also pointed out that on visits to Saudi Arabia in 2019 and France in 2017, Putin was accompanied by a team whenever he went to the toilet, to keep his excretions so no foreign power could medically analyse his urine or stools. The Kremlin has not confirmed any reports about Putin being sick, saying that the Russian leader is in excellent health. Despite such insistence, Valentin Yumashev, the son-in-law of former Russian leader Boris Yeltsin who helped Vladimir Putin come to power, has quit his role as a Kremlin adviser, signifying the fissures in Russian leadership.
More sensational was the disclosure that Putin had undergone treatment for advanced cancer in April though there is no confirmation of this news. It is also mentioned that the Kremlin has set up a fake office in Sochi that purported to look like the one at his suburban Moscow residence to make it look like he was working in the Russian capital rather than resting at the Black Sea resort. The only time the Kremlin confirmed Putin was suffering a health problem was the fall of 2012, when he cancelled several meetings and vanished from public life after being seen moving awkwardly. The Russian official stand-point then was that Putin had pulled a muscle with another explanation mentioning that he aggravated a back problem during a stunt when he flew with cranes on a motorised hang-glider.
The European press is awash with rumours that Russian President Vladimir Putin is not in the best of health and that unconfirmed reports state that he is suffering from cancer or Parkinson’s disease. In addition there are also murmurs swirling around pointing out that Putin has survived a coup attempt. The rumours forced Russian foreign minister to deny that Putin was ill or dying. He pointed out that Putin appears in public every day and his regular presence in screen is enough proof of his continued good health and ceaseless activities. It was also mentioned that just last week Putin spoke with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and chaired a meeting of his security council though both meetings were said to have been held remotely. On the other hand, Ukrainian military intelligence chief as said he believed that Putin was both seriously ill and that he had survived a recent coup attempt saying only that the supposed attackers came from the Caucasus region. TW