Russian social has blown up today, after it was claimed by a former Kremlin insider that Vladimir Putin suffered a “cardiac arrest” on Sunday (October 22).
This is just one out of a dozen claims about Putin’s ill health over the years – claims which have soared in number since Russian forces invaded Ukraine in February 2022 under the guise of Putin’s ‘special military operation’.
The secrecy of the Russian state has made the health of the man at the helm an exciting topic to discuss. Even before the war, there were a number of reports about Putin’s health.
Some experts have said recent reports are likely influenced by “wishful thinking” and argue the reports are only speculative as Putin rarely meets with any foreign leaders, making it difficult to analyse him.
Express.co.uk has rounded up five other times Vladimir Putin allegedly gave the world signs of poor health, including cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
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As early as 2012, Russia has been denying health reports and rumours about the leader.
It was reported by news outlets around the world that Putin had back trouble and needed surgery.
The Kremlin initially denied the injuries but when it was reported that the back trouble was the result of a hand-gliding incident, Putin’s press secretary, Dimitry Peskov confirmed the trouble was “an ordinary sporting injury” and that Putin had strained a muscle.
Russia even restricted its own media of Putin to still photos only during the leader’s visit to a Red Square ceremony for Russia’s National Unity Day.
However, footage shared by religious leaders in Moscow showed him with a bit of a limp.
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Putin has advanced cancer – US intelligence claim
Back in April 2022, Putin appeared to take a small hiatus as he allegedly underwent treatment for advanced cancer.
The claims were contained in a classified US intelligence report, intelligence leaders who saw the report said.
The report, said to be drafted in May 2022, was the fourth comprehensive assessment of Putin’s grip on power.
It said just one month before his alleged cancer treatment, there was an attempted assassination on his life.
Putin has Parkinson’s disease?
Last year, a video emerged showing Putin tightly gripping a table as he spoke to Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu.
The leader was seen tapping his foot and slouching during the clip, released by the Kremlin. His face also appeared to be bloated.
Former Conservative MP Louise Mensch concluded the video shows Putin has Parkinson’s disease, a condition which affects dopamine-producing nerves in the brain, causing uncontrollable or unintended movements.
However, Ray Chadhuri, a neurologist at King’s College Hospital, told DW: “Looking at the short clip, I can find no evidence that I can tell of parkinsonism in Putin.”
He added: “Bloating of [the] face or tremors can be caused by many reasons and I did not see any tremor either.”
Russian political scientist, and conspiracy theorist, Valery Solovey also claimed Putin has experienced weight loss and had resorted to “very strong stimulants”.
Commenting on the video, he said: “He [Putin] lost a lot of weight – but you can’t do that with the legs. And his body double is distinguished by the angularity of his face. That’s related to his [the doppelgänger’s] kidney problems. Though, he is still healthier than the real president.
“When he makes public appearances [Putin] is ‘high on speed’ as young people put it – very strong stimulants”.
Suspected Covid battle and paranoia
Putin isolated himself for two weeks after an outbreak of Covid in the Kremlin.
Putin denied having any ill-health but was spotted coughing during a meeting which aired on television.
He also reportedly imposed tough isolation measures on anyone meeting him face to face.
Following his invasion of Ukraine, many of his meetings were held at an unusually long table, prompting speculation that Putin was becoming increasingly paranoid.
Putin’s alleged body double
This summer, the health rumours continued to soar after he was spotted kissing a girl in a rare public appearance.
During a visit to Dagestan, the president seemed unusually social.
As well as pecking the girl on the cheek, he also shook an officer’s hand, despite previously never greeting his security team.
The different behaviour prompted people to speculate the leader was using body doubles during his public appearances.
Kyiv-Post correspondent ason Jay Smart previously told the Independent: “It would seem quite possible that Putin is using body doubles. Putin has been notoriously cautious about interacting with people since Covid broke out.
“Moreover, there are reports that following the betrayal by Prigozhin, that Putin does not even meet his Security Council without his guards nearby. Given this context, it would seem more likely than not that Putin is using body-doubles to protect himself from sickness as well as from his own citizens.”
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