How Kremlin tightly controls ailing Putin to hide ill health – from mystery disappearances to time-limits for meetings


RUSSIA has managed to keep its leader under strict control in a bid to hide his poor health.

It is of the utmost importance for Kremlin to maintain Vladimir Putin’s strongman image.


Kremlin has been desperately trying to hide Putin’s health problemsCredit: Reuters
The Russian leader is always surrounded by security


The Russian leader is always surrounded by securityCredit: Getty
Russia has denied all the claims about Putin's health


Russia has denied all the claims about Putin’s healthCredit: AFP

Moscow has remained tight-lipped as over the past few years Putin has made periodic disappearances from public life, what appearances he makes are carefully stage managed, and there are reportedly even time limits on his meetings with ministers.

The Russian tyrant’s health has long been the source of speculation, with Western intelligence suggesting he has serious health issues such as cancer and Parkinson’s.

Russian officials have always denied the claims there is something wrong with their leader.

But despite Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov insisting that Mad Vlad’s health is “excellent”, his recent public appearances have sparked rumours about his physical state.

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The despot seems always surrounded by security, following a detailed programme and only attending a small number of meetings- for a short time.

It appears that every bit of the dictator’s life has been carefully planned, only feeding speculations about his health.

He is believed to be followed by a team of doctors who carefully monitor his health – with him due to turn 70 in October.

The Russian leader was seen trembling in resurfaced footage as he greeted Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

Video showed frail-looking Putin holding his hand out to greet Lukashenko before quickly retracting and walking around the room.

And on Sunday, the Russian President was seen biting his lips and appearing unsteady during a midnight mass for Orthodox Easter, fuelling rumours the Parkinson’s rumours. 

But viewers saw the ageing autocrat appearing to shift uncomfortably, sticking out his tongue and chewing his lips.

Previously, Putin was seen slouched, gripping a table and tapping his foot during a meeting with his defence chief.

The tyrant appears with a bloated face, constantly tapping his foot and with his hand gripping the edge of the table for the entire 12-minute meeting.

Putin has long prided himself on his “strongman” image but his dramatic change over the past few years has caused speculation that he may be suffering from a severe physical illness.

Experts have pointed out that he looks “bloated” and “weakened” and has even seen a doctor who specialises in Thyroid cancer.

Back in November 2020, political analyst Valery Solovei claimed Putin underwent surgery and indicated that Mad Vlad is suffering from symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

And now an investigation has noted how in the past years Kremlin appears to have a tighter grip on Putin’s schedule.

The report by investigative Proekt media states that in his first days as a head of state the tyrant paid little attention to minor health issues such as fever.

An official recalled that “he could only postpone a meeting until the evening if he had a severe infection.”

It was crucial for Kremlin to maintain the leader’s image that they did not mention any health problems at all, including sports injuries.

The only time there has been a mention of his health was last year when Putin himself admitted falling off a horse

He said at the time: “They were once filming me, I was training, and it happened that the horse stopped in front of a barrier and I did a somersault, literally a somersault.”

Putin suffered a coughing fit during a televised meeting


Putin suffered a coughing fit during a televised meetingCredit:
The dictator was seen slouched during his meeting with Sergei Shoigu


The dictator was seen slouched during his meeting with Sergei ShoiguCredit: Alamy
Vladimir Putin held talks with Emmanuel Macron from a distance — in a move that was either for power or due to paranoia


Vladimir Putin held talks with Emmanuel Macron from a distance — in a move that was either for power or due to paranoiaCredit: Universal News & Sport

The concerns about the Russian President’s health appear to have started in November 2012, as he had a number of business trips and long-distance flights cancelled.

The report notes that back on November 4, 2012, on National Unity Day, state media did not include Putin in the footage of the ceremony on Red Square.

The reason was the president’s noticeable limp.

After a few months, Kremlin proceeded to cancel Putin’s official flights while in December of that year, all events were limited to an hour as the dictator could not sit down for longer for health reasons.

Even a concert at the Bolshoi Theater was shortened for Mad Vlad and then Putin was unable to meet the Japanese Prime Minister with Kremlin officials claiming “the chief is not well, wears a corset, and generally needs back surgery.”


As time went by, a series of mysterious disappearances sparked speculations about the Russian ruler as Kremlin was able to cover them by using pre-recorded footage.

In 2015, the dictator vanished for eleven days with Kremlin giving no explanation for his absence.

When asked about his disappearance after his return Putin joked: “It would be boring without gossip.”

In November of the following year, the Russian leader disappeared again for a few days while Kremlin published pre-recorded footage of him, according to National review.

Two years later in February 2018, Putin cancelled public events but admitted he “had a cold.”

At the start of the pandemic in 2020, he made only a few rare public appearances while in September 2021, he went into “self-isolation” and attended all the events via video links.

Public appearances and meetings with world leaders in recent months have also been bizarre – with Putin often seated at a massively long table.

Some have speculated its an attempt to project power, but others have suggested its an extreme example of social distancing and paranoia.

It has also been reported that a group of medics regularly follow Putin, especially in Sochi which he prefers to Moscow. 

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Surgeon Dr Alexey Shcheglov “follows Putin so relentlessly that during public events he allegedly gets into joint photographs with the head of state”.

He is seen as “the doctor who, among other things, can be the first to detect problems with the thyroid gland, including oncological ones”, it is claimed. 

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