Emails leaked to a leading British newspaper have reignited rumours about 70-year-old Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ill health.
Claims that Putin has Parkinson’s disease – a progressive disorder that affects the nervous system – have circulated for years but have been dismissed by Moscow as “Western propaganda”.
However, on Tuesday, Nov. 1., British newspaper The Sun announced it had seen emails from a Russian intelligence source close to the Kremlin, alleging that the Russian leader not only has Parkinson’s disease, but might also have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.
“I can confirm he has been diagnosed with early stage Parkinson’s disease, but it’s already progressing,” the Russian security services insider wrote in one of the emails seen by The Sun. “This fact will be denied in every possible way and hidden.
“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.
“In his close circle, there are rumours that in addition to pancreatic cancer, which is gradually spreading, Putin also has prostate cancer.”
The news follows widespread gossip on social media last month over a video clip allegedly showing a mysterious mark on Putin’s hand whilst he grasped a soldier’s arm.
Referencing one of Kyiv Post’s special correspondents, Jason Jay Smart, yesterday’s exclusive by The Sun said:
“Kyiv Post correspondent Jason Jay Smart claimed videos released by [Russian government] news show what could be track marks, from IVs, on the hand of Putin. He also alleged Moscow released two videos – one watermarked to supposedly mask Putin’s hand and another that doesn’t show them at all.
The footage was deleted by Russian state news outlets shortly after eagle-eyed social media users highlighted the alleged mark, further fuelling speculation of the president’s ill health.
Reacting to the footage, Lord Richard Dannatt, former Chief of the Defence Staff for Britain, told Sky News: “Keen observers now are noticing that his hands are looking pretty black on top, which is a sign of injections going in when other parts of the body can’t take injections.
“It’s interesting to note that, and just to watch whether he is as fit and well as he would like to portray.”
There is, however, no firm proof that Putin is suffering from any form of illness, and the claims have been dismissed by numerous analysts and officials – but this hasn’t stopped others from speculating over his health status for the past decade.
In 2008, a study by the U.S. Pentagon claimed that Putin suffered from Asperger’s disease, and in 2010 rumours began to circulate over his alleged declining mental health and alleged use of Botox, after photographs showed him with a black eye.
In 2012, social media platforms were swamped with conspiracy theories and further speculation, after Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda announced that Putin’s “health problems” had caused him to postpone a visit to Moscow.
Claims that Putin has Pancreatic cancer are not new. In later 2014, whilst Russia began illegally occupying parts of Ukraine, The New York Post reported that unidentified sources had revealed Putin was suffering from the deadly disease, suggesting that the information originally came from a German doctor who had treated the Russian president.
On June 10, multiple mainstream newspapers reported the news that Putin suffered “sharp sickness, weakness and dizziness” upon leaving a 90-minute virtual call with his military chiefs.
The following month, on July 26, Putin was seen gripping his desk whilst talking to Yury Borisov, the chief executive of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos – repeating this on August 25, when video footage showed him seemingly steadying himself by gripping the same desk during a meeting with the Head of the Federal Taxation Service, Daniil Yegorov.
Other footage, including that taken during Putin’s numerous meetings with allies in October, have also come under scrutiny, with analysts citing Putin’s apparent puffy face and unstable posture as indicators of a serious illness.
Dismissing the claims at The Aspen Institute’s annual security confab in July, CIA Director Bill Burns joked that “there are lots of rumours about President Putin’s health and, as far as we can tell, he’s entirely too healthy.”