Russian President Vladimir Putin was once again seen apparently gripping a table for dear life — appearing tense as his veins bulge, amid mounting speculation about his possible declining health.
The Kremlin leader’s vice grip was captured in footage taken during a meeting in Moscow with Sergei Kulikov, CEO of the RusNano State Corp., according to the UK’s Metro.
Putin’s awkward appearance mirrors his meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in April, when he was seen grasping a desk for support, also with his right hand, while looking bloated.
And it comes days after he was seen shaking and struggling to stand during an awards ceremony at the Kremlin, where he awarded filmmaker Nikita Mikhailov the State Prize of the Russian Federation.
The 69-year-old strongman’s doctors have reportedly advised him not to make any “lengthy” public appearances because of his “unstable health” — a claim was made on the Telegram channel General SVR, which is purportedly run by a Kremlin military source .
The account has claimed that Putin appeared to become ill — suffering from “a sharp sickness, weakness and dizziness” — after appearing on video with advisers a few days earlier.
Putin has been plagued by rampant rumors that he suffers from cancer, Parkinson’s disease or early stage dementia.
“This is not a portrait of a healthy Putin but one appearing increasingly feeble and barely able to hold himself upright at a small conference table,” body language expert Professor Erik Bucy of Texas Tech University recently told The Sun.
“Putin’s legs also appear quite thin, as if he may be suffering from weight or muscle loss from an unannounced malady,” he told the outlet. “Bloating in his face reinforces an unhealthy appearance, especially compared to photographs and video of the Russian premier from a few years ago.”
Meanwhile, a medical professor at St George’s, University of London, told The Mirror that he believes Putin suffers from Parkinson’s.
“All this talk of thyroid cancer… if you had that five years ago, I don’t think that would be a problem now,” Professor Angus Dalgleish told the news outlet.
“I do think that the one solid piece of evidence we see routinely is the shaking of the hands and I think that is a degenerative thing like Parkinson’s,” he said.
“Tremors would be consistent with Parkinson’s and certainly the tremors he has in his hands are all consistent with the disease,” Dalgleish continued, adding that Putin often presents with a “deadpan face,” which is “classic Parkinson’s”.
But Professor David Clarke, a defense and security analyst, told Sky News that be believes Putin actually “looks all right” — refuting claims that you can diagnose a person by looking at images in the media.
“When you see him in these clips that we’re seeing increasingly frequently now that COVID is over and he’s now coming out of the shadows, where he’s been for over two years, and he’s making it clear that he’s in control — he looks all right,” Clarke said.
“I’ve spoken to a number of people who say you cannot detect Parkinson’s disease from the way he walks, you cannot detect symptoms of cancer just by looking at photographs,” he told the outlet.
“I suspect that he’s only a hypochondriac,” Clarke added.
“On 7 October he will be 70. He is known to hit the Botox quite heavily, I always say that he’s trying to embalm himself while he’s still alive,” the expert said.
“He moves around with doctors, there’s known to be a little team of doctors who are never far away, and it’s said that he leaves meetings at frequent intervals to go and consult with somebody, Clarke said.
Putin is said to bathe in blood extracted from deer antlers, which are hacked off while they are growing and still full of fresh blood, according to Russian investigative outlet The Project.
The Kremlin has denied any allegations that Putin is in poor health.