Those who speculated about Putin's health may have been correct

Even before the Ukraine war began, people were speculating that something was physically wrong with Putin.  He looked puffy, not as if he'd gained weight, but as if he were reacting to medicines.  Speculation escalated with recent videos showing him clutching a table and with a badly shaking hand.  Now The Sun, a British tabloid, is claiming that Putin is going under the knife for a cancer operation, as well as suffering from Parkinson's.

As early as January 3, Britain's Telegraph paper was suggesting that Putin is seriously ill.  The five pieces of evidence it reported were his puffy face; the excessive distance Putin kept from people, as evidenced by the long table between him and France's Macron, a possible sign of a weakened immune system; intelligence reports such as one that Marco Rubio alluded to, saying something was off about Putin; a Russian academic's claims that Putin has both cancer and Parkinson's; and Putin's sudden desire to force a conclusion over his claims about Ukraine, a possible sign that he wants the matter resolved before imminent retirement or death.

In March, Mundo Hispánico reported that Putin's puffy face indicated poor health.  The article noted that Putin's face was noticeably puffy and reported on rumors that the puffiness was from steroids he was taking to treat cancer.  Part of his warlike behavior, some speculated, could be 'roid rage.

Image: Puffy Putin clutching a table.  YouTube screen grab.

All the rumors escalated about ten days ago, when Putin was interviewed and spent the entire interview clutching the table with his right hand, while he seemed to prop himself up in his chair.  (Postural instability is one of the signs of Parkinson's.)

Then, a week ago, a video was released showing Putin's right hand shaking uncontrollably before he hastily slapped it to his chest, stilling the movement:

The Sun's report is the first that states that Putin's ill health isn't a matter of guesswork.  It is, instead, confirmed:

VLADIMIR Putin is set to undergo an operation for cancer and will hand over power to his hardline spy chief, a Kremlin insider has reportedly claimed.

The Russian tyrant's health has been source of considerable speculation amid reports that he is battling both abdominal cancer and Parkinson's Disease.

But now it has been reported that 69-year-old Putin could soon vanish as he goes under the knife, with power transferred to Nikolai Patrushev.

Shadowy Patrushev, 70, is seen as a key architect of the Ukraine war strategy and the man who convinced Putin that Kyiv was awash with neo-Nazis.

The claim was reported on Russian media outlet General SVR, which first raised issues of Putin's health around 18-months ago.

They quote an anonymous former high-ranking Kremlin military figure as saying: "Putin has discussed that he will be undergoing medical procedures."

As I understand it, it's not just steroids that may be responsible for someone becoming irrationally aggressive.  Parkinson's disease can cause people to lose impulse control, and some people even become psychotic.

Currently, there's a lot of speculation about Putin's health, but there are few facts.  We're certainly seeing extreme physical changes in him.  Moreover, his decisions, even accepting his fear of NATO and long-term designs on eastern Ukraine, have seemed to be irrational from a man famed for cold calculation.  I'm not expecting Putin's funeral any time soon, though.  I remember that Fidel Castro lived several years after rumors about his illness and death started circulating. 

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