Although reliable information about Vladimir Putin's health remains one of the Kremlin's biggest secrets, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, various hypotheses about Putin's illnesses have been discussed in dozens of Western media publications — including as one of the factors that can influence Putin's decisions during the war. 

Rumors about Putin's illnesses flare up with renewed vigor whenever he is given a reason for his behavior, appearance, or gestures. So here’s a reminder of what has been said about his state of health.


In May, the British tabloid Daily Mirror, citing the source in the FSB, reported that doctors allegedly gave Russian dictator Vladimir Putin a maximum of several more years of life due to an identified oncological disease. The Daily Mirror source claims that, according to his information, the dictator is losing his eyesight and suffering from headaches and tremors of the limbs.


Thyroid cancer

In early April, the Russian media outlet Проект published a large investigation into the health of Putin, which gave reason to believe that the dictator could have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.

At the same time, the text does not explicitly state that Putin is ill with something, and specific diagnoses are not named. 

In at least two cases, the "Project" claimed that Putin had an operation, most likely in the back area, the newspaper writes. These cases coincided with Putin's "disappearances" from public view, which once drew the media's attention.

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As the journalists of the Project found out, in recent years, Putin has regularly traveled around Russia accompanied by an impressive team of specialist doctors. Among them was a surgeon who specialized in oncology and dealt with thyroid problems.

Among other things, the investigation devoted to Putin's health says that during his trips to Altai, he allegedly takes baths with an extract from young antlers of antlers.[AJOS1] 


Pancreatic cancer

In June, Mark Kotlyarsky, an Israeli journalist and columnist for the online publication Details, said that Putin was being prepared for surgery after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

According to him, the information about the diagnosis was confirmed by two sources — Moscow doctors and a person from the Putin administration who is responsible for the health of the head of the Russian Federation.

A few months later, in November, British tabloid newspaper The Sun began spreading similar rumors. The journalists of the publication, citing a source close to the Kremlin in the special services, said that Putin had recently been diagnosed with an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer and that he was allegedly "regularly stuffed with all kinds of heavy steroids and innovative painkillers injections to stop the spread of the disease."

Prostate cancer

The same source from the The Sun claimed the possible presence of another cancer affecting the dictator. "There are rumors in his inner circle that in addition to pancreatic cancer, which is gradually progressing, Putin also has prostate cancer," The Sun quotes.


Blood cancer

In May, media outlet New Lines Magazine citing an audio recording of an oligarch close to the Kremlin reported that Putin was "seriously ill with blood cancer."

The oligarch claimed that Putin's well-reported back problems are linked to blood cancer and claimed he underwent back surgery in October.

New Lines said it had authenticated the oligarch's voice and identity but chose not to disclose it because it would likely lead to state retaliation. Anyway, it has not been independently verified. 

At the same time, the oligarch did not specify which form of blood cancer Putin is ill with.

Parkinson's disease

Reports that Putin was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease have been appearing in the media regularly since last spring.

On April 30, the largest British tabloid, The Sun, fueled a new wave of rumors about Putin's health by retelling unconfirmed reports that the president of the Russian Federation is preparing for surgery on the background of oncology, Parkinson's disease, and schizoaffective disorder.

The material is based on the latest information published in the Telegram channel  General SVR. 

The channel is managed on behalf of a former general of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. It publishes allegedly insider information about Putin and his entourage.


It is in this channel that, since the fall of 2020, information has regularly appeared about a whole "bouquet" of serious diseases that Putin allegedly suffers from, as well as their progression.

Schizoaffective disorder

The Sun wrote about this diagnosis in the spring of 2022, citing an extremely unreliable source, the anonymous Telegram channel SVR General, allegedly published by Kremlin insiders.

In a publication in this channel dated May 28, 2021, it was reported that the diagnosis of "schizoaffective disorder" was allegedly made to Putin during a "large examination involving several truly world-class doctors."

"We emphasize that the doctors who conducted the examination have a consensus on the diagnosis," the post said at the time.

"Steroid rage" and other side effects of extensive steroid use

Western publications have repeatedly suggested that the active use of steroids could significantly affect the health and behavior of the president of the Russian Federation.

“Putin has always been a very fit-looking man with a slightly gaunt appearance. But over the last couple of years, he seems to have filled out in the face and neck. Cushingoid appearance, it’s called, and it’s compatible with steroid use, Ashley Grossman, professor of endocrinology at Oxford University, explained in a comment to New Lines Magazine, commenting on information about Putin’s possible blood cancer.


Steroids, according to Grossman, are usually prescribed for various types of lymphoma or myeloma (a form of blood cancer), which "can cause widespread bone disease and definitely affect the spine and back."

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