Russian journalists’ research project: back, thyroid, corona: an overview of Putin’s medical file
There has long been speculation about the state of health of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Detailed research by Russian journalists in exile now reveals the health issues Putin faced or still faces. Putin has repeatedly disappeared from public view in recent years for treatment while the Kremlin covered up his absence.
When French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited President Vladimir Putin in Moscow before the start of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, they had to sit at a table seven meters long. Journalists had to show three negative PCR tests before they were even allowed to enter the Kremlin. The world laughed at Putin and his fear of Corona.
Putin’s horse riding accidents and his long back pain
This fear adds up. In a list of health issues that Putin is said to have carried with him in recent years. Much of this has been speculation thus far.
Since taking office in 2002, the president, who turns 70 in October, has presented himself to the public as strong, active and young at heart. According to his press officer Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s health is “excellent”. So will the 69-year-old man enshrined in the constitution continue to govern until 2036 – as he allowed himself to do with his constitutional amendment last year? A research project by exiled Russian journalists from “Project media” and “Meduza” is currently examining his medical records, which suggest otherwise.
In public, Putin is athletic. The images are world famous: Putin riding shirtless through the South Siberian Republic of Tuva in 2009. But equestrian sports have posed physical problems for Putin for years. After a fall, he “couldn’t even get back on his feet” for a while, an acquaintance from the 2000s said of him. In November 2016, Putin reportedly underwent surgery, “probably on his back”. Putin disappeared from public view for six days. Twelve doctors visited Putin at his Sochi sanatorium, including neurosurgery specialists, the report said.
Lame poutine cut from a tv show
According to the report, however, the Kremlin tried hard not to let the public feel anything about Putin’s common problems. When Putin hobbled at a memorial service in November 2012, it was not televised. The Kremlin press service did not post a video of the event on its website, but limited itself to photos. News agencies were reportedly expressly prohibited from mentioning lameness in their reports. But videos of Putin lame have been doing the rounds of the internet. Just a month later, the Kremlin issued instructions that no meeting with the president should last longer than an hour – the head of state could not sit longer for health reasons.
For Putin’s sake, a concert celebrating the 200th anniversary of the victory over Napoleon has even been reduced to one hour. A meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister was also canceled. The unofficial version according to the report: Putin is not well, he wears a corset and needs back surgery. Officially, however, the Kremlin has used images and videos of past appearances to cover up Putin’s disappearance.
The Exiled Journalists Project establishes that in the years 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2021, Putin repeatedly disappeared from the scene for several days. At the beginning of his term, the Kremlin tried to hide even the slightest cold, and even Putin himself did not take the symptoms of fever and flu seriously.
Putin was treated by 13 doctors at the same time in 2019
Doctors from a Moscow clinic are said to have accompanied Putin on his travels over the years and visited his home, including Sochi. Paradoxically, after years of concealing information about Putin’s health, authorities have released information about the president’s doctors, such as which hotels the Moscow hospital housed the doctors in.
From the records, investigative journalists concluded that between 2016 and 2017 Putin was regularly accompanied by an average of five doctors in Sochi, in 2019 it was an average of nine. In November 2019, 13 doctors visited him at the same time, including a spinal cord injury specialist, an oncologist and surgeon, an otolaryngologist and an infectious disease specialist.
Doctor suggests thyroid disease
All this for back problems? The reporters’ report suspects there is more to it. An Israeli doctor is quoted in the report: Thyroid diseases, including cancer, are usually first diagnosed by an otolaryngologist, after which an oncologist and a surgeon are involved in the treatment. In July 2020, Putin met with the head of the National Center for Medical Research in Endocrinology, who told him about thyroid cancer and a new hormone drug.
In September 2020, Putin imposed a corona quarantine on himself because he said he had had too much contact with infected people after meeting Russian athletes. For 14 days he completely withdrew from public view. According to an acquaintance of the chief medical officer of one of the hospitals whose specialists assisted in the treatment, it is believed in medical circles that the president was undergoing a complicated procedure related to a thyroid condition during this period.
The report does not reveal how Putin is currently doing. However, even in wartime, persistent rumors persist that Putin’s health is not “excellent”.
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