There is credible intelligence suggesting that he has a “significant” illness. “Putin appears to have some neuro/physiological health issues.” There is chatter of cancer and/or Parkinson’s disease and steroid use, videos of Putin show a rigid right arm and visible limping. If you like our content, please subscribe to our premium episodes.
We discuss the possibility that he may be dying, and that the Ukraine invasion may be a legacy action that he is trying to complete before his own demise due to medical issues. Putin has a very carefully constructed public image which includes prepared videos and images of him performing physically demanding tasks such as Judo fighting, riding horses, and flying gliders. But these "strong-man" images and videos have declined in number in the past couple of years and in some cases, even have been altered with things such as a photoshopped image of a bear. 1, 2
Russian TV even had to cut a portion of a live appearance, presumably due to some medical issue Putin suffered on stage in front of a crowd, and then re-start the broadcast after he had been attended to and returned to the microphone. 3
We also analyze Ukraine's air force status. The war is slipping through Putin's fingers due to his own mismanagement of the ground assault, and so is the number of aircraft in service in the Ukranian air force. As of our recording they're down to 55 fighter jets - MiG-29s are not known for reliability. 4
We finish by assessing who Putin's successors may be if he dies of natural causes or simply doesn't manage to hold on to control of the country if the Ukraine invasion fails. Anatoly Chubais resigned and fled to Turkey. Yuri Kovalchuk and Alexander Bortnikov may also fall out of favor if Ukraine falls from Putin's grasp - like Mikhail Khodorkovsky who got imprisoned by Putin for 10 years. He says Putin will be "gone in 3 years." Boris Berezovsky is obviously out of the running, Putin had him killed. 5
3. By Nataliya Vasilyeva, In a £10,500 Italian Designer Coat, a Limping Vladimir Putin Tries to Rally his People, Telegraph, March 2022. ⇤
4. Maria Varenikova and Andrew Kramer, How Ukraine’s Outgunned Air Force Is Fighting Back Against Russian Jets, New York Times, March 2022. ⇤
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