Rumors about the health of Vladimir Putin, 70 in October, are sordid, grim and unverifiable. But they illustrate the little, if not the absence, of information on the state of health of the Russian president, a crucial element at a time when he is leading a bloody war in Ukraine.
As the Russian president advances in age and his physique has transformed over the years – his face appears puffy, his movements sometimes seem crusty – speculation abounds. The most in-depth investigation into Putin’s health was published in April by the Russian-language site Proekt, based on open sources, to conclude that the president’s trips in recent years to his dacha in Sochi coincided with the displacement of an armada of doctors. Among them, a thyroid cancer specialist, Yevgeny Selivanov.
New, the weekly Newsweek, citing US intelligence sources, claimed he was treated in April for advanced-stage cancer. The US National Security Council has denied being the source of this information.
Ukraine’s intelligence chief, General Kyrylo Budanov, told Sky News that Putin had cancer.
The fact remains that during recent appearances, in particular a forum on Pierre Le Grand and an interview with Turkmen President Serdar Berdymoukhamedov, the Russian head of state has in fact shown no sign of weakness.