Speculations about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s health are becoming as common as media questioning if President Joe Biden is senile.
President Putin has lately, by mainly anonymous sources, been publicly rumored to have diseases ranging from blood cancer to Parkinson’s.
New Lines Magazine Thursday reported that a venture capitalist had secretly taped a Russian oligarch close to Putin saying he had cancer.
The oligarch, whose identity was withheld by the magazine to protect his life, reportedly denounced the Ukraine war in vehement terms. The covertly taped Russian added “we all hope” Putin dies from his cancer or a possible coup to spare Russia further misfortune. The report noted it was unclear if the oligarch was using the royal “we” or indicating a group view. The Russian, whom the report said is outside Russia’s borders, personally blames Putin for killing more than 15,000 Russian soldiers and 4,000 or 5,000 civilians in Ukraine. “It’s unbelievable,” the oligarch said. “For what? He killed more people than in 10 years in the [Soviet] Afghan war.”
Many U.S. citizens remain skeptical of Russians bearing lurid tales of leaders on the ropes after the fake Steele dossier was used to plant rumors about presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign colluding with Russian officials. The magazine reportedly verified the taped oligarch’s credentials through open source verification methods and consultations with past and present intelligence officials. One former European security chief reportedly described him as belonging to a “close circle of 20 to 30 people” with whom Putin met in 2014 before annexing the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea.
Another associate of the oligarch reportedly declared he is still in a position to provide “concrete information” about the inner workings of the Russian presidential office.
The New Lines report added that Putin has been reported to constantly include three physicians in his group when he travels and one specializes in thyroid cancer. The oligarch secretly recorded talk about Putin’s back problems, suggesting they are linked to blood cancer. It concluded by noting steroids that are used to treat some milder forms of blood cancer, such as prednisone, induce symptoms of deeply irrational or paranoid behavior.
Ukraine’s military intelligence chief also claimed Putin has cancer, according to a New York Post report suggesting a coup to remove the Russian leader is already underway.
Maj. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov said heavy losses suffered by Russian forces signal likely defeat by the end of the year and will “eventually lead to the change of leadership of the Russian Federation.”
No official word about Putin being seriously ill with cancer or any other serious condition has been announced by the Russian government. He may be ill and hiding it, or government officials may believe spreading false rumors about Putin’s declining health serves the country’s interest in some way.
“Their instinct is to lie and spread disinformation on the one hand, and so this chatter may be an effort to deflect attention,” John Sipher, a former CIA officer specializing in Russia, said about the Russians.
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