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Is Vladimir Putin Sick with Cancer?

Putin Russia
President of Russia Vladimir Putin Meeting with members of the Government (via videoconference).

Is Putin Headed to the Sick Ward?: Most of the world, aside from his enablers in Iran and North Korea, would prefer that Vladimir Putin get so sick that he would have to quit the presidency and give up power. That might end the war in Ukraine’s favor.

But Putin, even though he shows some signs of physical affliction, is not giving up so easily. Is he sick or just slowing down due to the stress of an unsuccessful war? Let’s explore various reports that there is something wrong with his health.

Axed News Conference Because of Putin’s Health?

One event that made Russia watchers speculate is that Putin cancelled his end of the year press briefing.

It’s not like him to have this opportunity to snidely answer (and avoid) the prying questions of international journalists. This is the first time in 10 years that the news conference will not take place.

This cancellation was attributed to Putin’s ill health in some outlets of the legacy media and in social media. Putin may also be skipping his annual appearance at a celebration to bring in the new year.

Parkinson’s Or Cancer?

There have been reports of Putin possibly being afflicted by Parkinson’s disease or some form of cancer – perhaps pancreatic, stomach, or colon cancer. There is a photo of his hand looking like it had needle marks on it. Putin has appeared unsteady at times and bloated. He has been shown gripping a table tightly perhaps in an effort to hide shakiness.

He Could Have Fallen Off a Horse

British author John Sweeney thinks that Putin once fell off a horse and has been treated with steroids to recover from his injuries. Long-term use of these substances can cause health reactions. Sweeney believes that Putin has a “puffy face” and that his demeanor has changed for the worse over the years.

Or He Might Have Fallen Down the Stairs

Putin may have also fallen down some stairs – an accident that could have required doctor’s care. Putin might have suffered from a bruised tailbone after this alleged mishap. He has been reported to travel with at least one physician by his side.

Flu in the Kremlin Is Widespread

Russia state media has claimed that the H1N1 flu at the Kremlin is bad this year, which led to the speculation that Putin is being held in a bunker to avoid the illness. Putin was scheduled to give a speech to the Russian parliament’s upper house this month. That has also been canceled, reportedly because many lawmakers are sick.

He’s No Spring Chicken

Putin is no longer in middle age. He is 70 years old and probably will not go hiking with his shirt off or play hockey any time soon. Although a macho show of vigor and gusto might put the rumors to rest, the stress from constant bad news on the war front may be taking its toll.

What Happens If Putin Leaves the Throne?

One other parlor game for Russia analysts is who would come to power next if Putin’s health took a turn for the worse and he was bed-ridden, in a coma, or worse?

The Russian constitution declares the prime minister would resume power (not that Russia is a constitutional democracy). The prime minister is the dour Mikhail Mishustin, who often gets no media coverage and is not seen as a long-term choice. Nikolai Patrushev, Russia’s Security Council secretary, has more power and could take the reins eventually.

But Putin is still alive and kicking as far as we know. 19FortyFive will keep on eye on this as it is within the realm of possibility that Putin has health problems and there is no clear succession plan should he die in office due to ill health.

Expert Biography: Serving as 1945’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.

Written By

Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.