The health of the powerful is always a public issue, even more so in dictatorships than in democracies.
Death or serious illness at the top of the state can trigger power struggles and endanger internal stability. So it’s not surprising that Vladimir Putin has kept a big secret about his physical condition for decades. A report in the French magazine “Paris Match” now shows how far the Kremlin chief’s need for control actually goes.
According to the report, when traveling abroad, one of Putin’s bodyguards has the task of collecting his boss’s excrement in a bag and taking it to Moscow in a special case. This practice was documented for Putin’s visit to France in May 2017 and to Saudi Arabia in October 2019, the magazine writes, citing insiders.
There are increasing indications that Putin is suffering from cancer
There was intense pressure on everyone involved to keep the embarrassing matter secret, but apparently without success. The background to the “special operation” is the concern that enemy secret services could derive information about the health of the Kremlin chief from feces and urine. Rumors of the 69-year-old’s physical problems have been circulating for years, but the evidence has recently increased.
Russian investigative journalists reported in April that since at least 2016 Putin has often been surrounded by a whole entourage of specialist doctors. The surgeon Yevgeny Selivanov, who specializes in the treatment of thyroid cancer, is most often at his side, reports “Proekt media”. In May, a confidant of Putin is said to have involuntarily revealed in a conversation with a western business partner that Putin was seriously ill with blood cancer. Representatives of various US secret services recently agreed with this assessment, but warned against hoping for a quick end for Putin.
Putin is said to regularly bathe in deer blood
Apparently, he doesn’t just rely on conventional medicine when it comes to his health. As “Proekt media” also revealed, Putin is said to have been taking baths in deer antler blood regularly since the mid-2000s. According to the report, his confidant, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, convinced Putin of the healing effects of blood on the cardiovascular system and skin. For the animals, however, this traditional healing method is torture.
In the spring, the antlers of the Altai maral, a Siberian deer species, can grow several inches a day. In this phase, the horns of the deer are still soft and have a strong blood supply. In order to get to the blood, the animals would be pulled up on a special device and their horns would then be cut off with a saw, writes “Proekt media”. The blood of hundreds of animals is needed for a single bath. Even the comment that there was no proof of the effectiveness of the baths could not dissuade Putin from the practice.