Vladimir Putin “is seriously ill.” So much so that “in April he underwent medical treatment for very advanced cancer.” The American magazine Newsweek raises rumors about the state of health of the president of Russia. The weekly cites three “personalities” who would have read a confidential report from the US secret services.
Newsweek’s informants are: an official from the National Intelligence Directorate (DNI), the structure that coordinates the 17 secret service agencies; member of Pentagon intelligence, and eventually former Air Force officer. According to these sources, “Putin’s control over the government is no longer absolute. The maneuvers inside the Kremlin have never been so intense in the last 20 years; everyone has the feeling that the end is near.”
The report also confirms that Putin escaped an assassination attempt in March.
The alleged illness of Putin, 69, has been dominating rumors for months, especially on social networks. “He has cancer”; “No, he has Parkinson’s.” Some speculations have become surreal. Just to give an example: the Kremlin has a plan to replace Putin with a stunt double at some public events.
However, the US secret services have been monitoring Putin’s appearances for months, trying to identify the symptoms of a possible pathology: trembling of a hand or foot, suspicious swelling of the face…
The DNI agent, interviewed by Newsweek, observes: “What we do know is that this is an iceberg, although it is shrouded in fog.” It’s the same sentiment security adviser Jake Sullivan has shared several times with reporters: US intelligence has “limited visibility” into what’s going on in Moscow. Even the director of the CIA, William Burns, warned Congress: beware, because we have little information about the balance within the Russian nomenklatura.
Putin has further isolated himself; he has drastically reduced his meetings with foreign heads of state. As a result, the work of American 007s has also become more complex. In addition to experience, warns this time, the former Air Force officer advises caution: “You have to remember the lessons of the past. The secret services trusted that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that Osama bin Laden suffered from insufficient Severe kidney disease. Two assessment errors”.
But if Putin were seriously ill there would be less risk of a nuclear conflict, because a weak leader might have more trouble overcoming such a devastating decision. In any case, it is the conclusion of the report. The US government should not just wait for “Putin’s death” and should worry about what might happen in the event of a dangerous power vacuum at the top of Russia.
All these speculations are probably becoming a political problem for Moscow. So much so that last Monday, even before Newsweek’s revelation, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared on French television: “A sane person would not be able to identify the signs of illness in Putin’s behavior.”
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