There has long been speculation that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s health has secretly been in decline, and now a leaked email — ostensibly from a Russian intelligence services insider — purports to reveal the full extent of the reviled leader’s woes.
According to the anonymous insider, Putin is suffering from pancreatic cancer and Parkinson’s Disease, possibly among other issues, that is all being managed quietly with a daily cocktail of pharmaceuticals and treatments, BizPacReview reported.
The claimed health problems, if true, could help explain some of Putin’s odd behavior over the past year — including even his ramped-up rhetoric with regard to the use of nuclear weapons.
Cancer and Parkinson’s … allegedly
The U.K.’s The Sun reported that it obtained a leaked document from a Russian intelligence source close to the Kremlin that stated, “I can confirm he has been diagnosed with early-stage Parkinson’s disease, but it’s already progressing.”
“This fact will be denied in every possible way and hidden,” the alleged document continued. “Putin is regularly stuffed with all kinds of heavy steroids and innovative painkilling injections to stop the spread of pancreatic cancer he was recently diagnosed with.”
“It not only causes a lot of pain, Putin has a state of puffiness of the face and other side effects — including memory lapses,” the reported email added. “In his close circle, there are rumors that in addition to pancreatic cancer, which is gradually spreading, Putin also has prostate cancer.”
Visible signs of likely declining health
Putin has long portrayed himself as a virile “strongman,” but that has been belied by pictures and videos over the past several months in which he appears to be bloated and weak or trembling and in pain. There was also some controversy recently over images that some speculated showed track marks, likely from an IV, on the back of his hand.
The New York Post reported that the rumors about Putin’s health have been fueled by anonymous social media accounts in Russia and independent journalists who have documented the Russian president’s increasingly odd behavioral tics and unexplained disappearances and canceled events.
Some of the Russian sources alleged that Putin has actually been suffering from declining health for a few years now, and is secretly accompanied at all times by a team of doctors and specialists to try and manage that decline.
Could this explain Putin’s nuclear threats?
Interestingly enough, The Sun also reported that game theory specialist Georgy Egorov has suggested that Putin’s increasingly stark nuclear threats in relation to his invasion of Ukraine now “makes sense” if the rumors are true that Putin’s time may be drawing short for health reasons.
Egorov reportedly told and independent Russian news outlet that “It makes sense to use nuclear weapons for Putin in only one situation — if the rumors about his health problems are true — if he has a few months left to live — he does not want to go down in history as a loser.”
To be sure, this is all speculation based on anonymous sources and, while possibly true and in line with undeniable observations, could also just be wartime propaganda — from either side, really — intended to confuse or mislead opponents and the general public about what is really going on.