Rumors swirl of Putin cancer operation, and it may not be his first
Speculation over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s health has been rekindled by rumors that the 69-year-old leader will have surgery for cancer, according to a former senior military official
May 2, 2022 9:06am
Updated: May 2, 2022 10:23am
Speculation over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s health has been rekindled by rumors that the 69-year-old leader will have surgery for cancer, according to a former senior military official.
The unverified claim was reported on Russian media outlet General SVR, reports The Sun.
“Putin has discussed that he will be undergoing medical procedures,” the outlet said, quoting an anonymous former high-ranking Kremlin military figure.
“Doctors insist that he needs an operation, but the date has not yet been determined,” the source added. However, it is unlikely to be before Victory Day on May 9, when Putin will preside over commemorations of the defeat of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
Rumors of the Russian leader’s failing health are not new. In Nov. 2020, Russian political scientist Valery Solovei claimed that Putin had Parkinson’s disease and abdominal cancer, undergoing surgery for the latter in Feb. 2020.
Awkward recent public appearances by Putin have led observers to increasingly ask whether he is ill. One Apr. 23 video shows his hand and leg trembling during a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
The Russian president has also been taking meetings at a comically long table, which observers believe is a way to maintain social distancing.
"I have no idea if Putin has cancer. But I do know that Putin has never before been germ phobic and the huge space between him and visitors is the degree of social distancing that doctors recommend to cancer patients, who are almost all immunosuppressed," tweeted veteran U.S. journalist Jonathan Alter.
The Kremlin source confirmed the previous reports.
“We know very well that he has cancer, and Parkinson's disease, as we have said many times,” the source said.
A few names have emerged as potential successors for Putin. The Kremlin official said that power would be transferred to Nikolai Patrushev, a key architect of the Ukraine invasion. In March, a report said that some Russian elites were plotting to install Alexander Bortnikov, head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, in Putin’s place.