“Let me comment like this: Something very strange is going on in the Kremlin,” says Russia expert Anders Aslund in describing Putin’s alleged death.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s health has been a contentious point of speculation as his public appearances routinely trigger rumors of cancerParkinsons, bathing in deer antler blood, or simply having a steroids habit developed from his obsession with body-building. However, as many rumors as there are, there is not much concretely known about how Russia’s leader, for more than two decades, lives – or if he is still living.

However, conceding that the “Kremlin is really very isolated today, so we know so much less than we used to,” some of Putin’s recent behavior, argues Aslund, does not fit the profile of Putin who has been on the public stage for more than two decades.

Advertisement

“The real Putin lives in complete isolation, presumably because of some immunity deficiency, while the double mingles with people and pats people on their backs, which the real Putin would not do,” says the Kremlinologist.

Unlike earlier times, the recent rumors about the 71-year-old having died, something which the Kremlin denies, comes in tandem with several other signs that some Russia-watchers believe may be a configuration in the tea leaves indicating a political change is afoot in Moscow.

Aslund does believe that the “Kremlin is using a double of Putin because too many strange things have occurred with ‘Putin’, which are not at all typical of Putin,” and notes that Putin “seems out of control.”

UK Government Urged to Stand Firm Against Russian Athletes at Olympics
Other Topics of Interest

UK Government Urged to Stand Firm Against Russian Athletes at Olympics

UK Friends of Ukraine and Senior MP call on Government to Stand Firm Against Russian Athletes at Olympics and Paralympics

“The real Putin lives in complete isolation, presumably because of some immunity deficiency, while the double mingles with people and pats people on their backs, which the real Putin would not do.”

The current rumor being circulated, which began on a Russian Telegram channel, is that Putin’s heart stopped, and despite efforts to revive him, the leader perished.

Advertisement

Confirming this story, Valerii Solovev, formerly of the FSB, gave interviews in which he gave allegedly inside knowledge of the precise hour and location of Putin’s death.

During the same timeframe that the rumors of Putin’s death were unfolding, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, known for his love of releasing videos of himself speaking, has been noticeably absent.

However, the leader’s 15-year-old son, Adam, was appointed as a top security personnel for his father which some sign as a signal that he could be preparing to take the helm of Chechnya.

SEE ALSO: GRAPHIC VIDEO: Buryat Unit Decimated as Another Non-Slav Unit Thrown into a Failed Russian Attack

Recently, a video of the younger Kadyrov assaulting a man for allegedly burning a Quran was released in what some saw as proving the youth’s credentials as a defender of the faith.

Earlier, Kadyrov had released other videos demonstrating his sons’ bona fides, including claiming that they had fought in Ukraine and a video of them bringing him Ukrainian POWs as a gift.

Patrushev, who many see as Putin’s possible successor, is known to not get-along with Kadyrov, with some news sources claiming that Patrushev’s son, Dmitri, the current Minister of Agriculture of Russia, had gotten into a dispute with Kadyrov senior over who would take control of Danone once the company had left the Russian market.

Advertisement

Mark Katz, a Kremlinologist and professor at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia says that if “Patrushev does come to power, I think he will move to get rid of all his rivals, including Kadyrov.”

The current Chechen leader, whose own health rumors have swirled as his face has become bloated at the same time that his voice and breathing are noticeably strained, is said to suffer from liver problems, or from being poisoned, depending on the source of the story, has not seen publicly since Oct. 9.

Katz notes: “Getting rid of Kadyrov will not be easy since the Chechen strongman has his own security force which Russian security services would have to subdue—something that they might not be able to accomplish due to the exigencies of Russia's war against Ukraine.”

Patrushev’s remarks, two days ago, added more smoke to the Kremlin house of mirrors. According to Charter 97, Patrushev de facto publicly “eulogized” Putin saying that he had been, “Tired of the violent 1990s, society was waiting for solutions to socio-economic problems, for the strengthening of national security.”

Advertisement

“A leader was needed who could put the people's welfare at the centre of the agenda. ..... Putin became such a leader... He had a detailed knowledge of the situation in the country, a clear programme of action, a vision of the goal... At the same time, he understood the importance of an evolutionary approach, as opposed to revolutionary leaps that always weaken the Russian state. He believed in people.”

Admitting that the “Kremlin is really very isolated today, so we know so much less than we used to,” Aslund believes that “Patrushev's speech about Putin in past tense while dressed in black was a trial balloon, [as] so I see Professor Valery Soloviev's many statements. It looks as if the Kremlin is preparing Russia for Putin's death.”

Aside from this look back at the past, Nikolai Patrushev read a statement to the press, a few days ago, putting the blame for Russia’s war against Ukraine on the US and made no reference to “Ukrainian Nazis” or other justifications for the full-scale invasion that the Kremlin has used before.

Instead, Patrushev shifted the blame for the war, from either Ukraine or Russia to the United States, stating: "There is no war between the peoples of Ukraine and Russia. There is only the open aggression of the United States.

Advertisement

“As a result, our country is defending our land and our people. We are sure of our victory. The West failed in overthrowing the [Belarussian Government] in 2020... I wish to note that the conflict in Ukraine is not beneficial to anyone - except the United States.”

Was Patrushev’s soliloquy meant to be a conciliatory note to Ukraine? A sign of a desire to mend fences with the neighboring state?

Perhaps unlikely, as Patrushev also last week voiced his view that Ukraine’s war was only increasing the probability that nuclear weapons would be used.

So, is Putin dead?

Neither Katz nor Aslund believe Putin has expired, though Katz offers insight as to what the telltale sign of the Russian leader’s demise will be, saying to keep an eye out for “open competition among [Putin’s] top henchmen,” as they vie for power in the post-Putin world.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Comments (5)

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Edit Szegedi
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Before 1989 there were rumours in Romania about the health of Ceausescu and his possible death. Eventually he died, killed by his one comrades.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Andrew Lockett
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Oh yeah, kremlin stooge, so if there is no war between Russian and Ukrainian peoples, why isn't russia fighting directly against USA instead of Ukraine in Ukraine??!!!!. Answer that warmonger. The kremlin stooges statement is a complete non sequitur. The truth is that Russia IS fighting against Ukraine, in order to destroy it as a nation state, steal it's valuable resources and expand the fascist empire, and drive out, enslave or eradicate it's people. Pure and simple. Blaming the USA and NATO is the moskals sham default answer, when the real reason obviously cannot be voiced openly. 🇺🇦

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Makuye
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

You may contrast known photos of Putin's ears, as these cartilaginous exterior organs are likely not possible to hide surgical efforts to change, and are visibly unique.
Yes, manipulated digital images can be fashioned, but any candid photos taken during visits to Central Asian nations, if uploaded as news might relieve speculation either way.
Thank you Mr. Smart, for exploring Kremlin and Patrushev dynamics. Of course greater in-depth reportage of Patrushev, and all other Siloviks, including the military wielders of power and choice implementation, is always in order.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Steve R.
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Very interesting, but it’s not just Putin. All the top government officials, and the nation itself must be held accountable.

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
Support Ukraine
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Interesting article JJ.
Speculative, but reasonable for a regime that conceals and lies about everything,
The "pal" comment previous to mine reads like output of the Russian troll factory.

Makuye
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

@Support Ukraine, Thanks for highlighting trolls in KP comment sections!
I see that it seems to have been removed

https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png
https://www.kyivpost.com/assets/images/author.png