Since the start of the war in Ukraine, rumors have swirled about Vladimir Putin’s state of health. Recently, the cancellation of a trip to Kazakhstan and the president’s absence from a meeting have revived speculation as to the pseudo-disease from which the Russian leader is suffering. For Nicolas Gosset, researcher at the Royal Higher Institute for Defence, we must be cautious in the face of these assumptions. “We only have a few elements on this file,” he told us.
The specialist in Russia-Eurasia relies on the speech of the director of the CIA. “He calmed things down a bit about the rumors about Putin’s health,” he continues. “He explained that there was nothing to say that the Russian president was sick and that we should not focus on it to reassure ourselves. It seems to me to be a speech of reason. I think objectively that anyone who claims to have information on the state of health of Mr. Putin actually tends to prophesy his desire. We must therefore rather evacuate this kind of hypothesis.
“There is not an image of President Putin that is released without a prior green light”
According to Nicolas Gosset, all these rumors could be part of a strategy. “I always wonder who benefits from the crime… In the end, does it not serve the interests of the regime to project an image of an irrational Putin, at the end of his life, sick, subjected to assassination attempts? “It’s a way of instilling a sense of determination and nothing to lose. We can have the same reflection on the speech of the director of the CIA. By putting an end to the discussions on the state of health of Putin, c “It is also a way of refocusing attention on the essential, namely military support for Ukraine. This serves strategic objectives on both sides.”
Finally, the researcher recalls that the image of the Russian president is strictly controlled. “We have seen television appearances where Putin was tense in his chair, his hands fixed to the table. Some have relied on these images to say that the Russian president has Parkinson’s. But if these images are shown on Russian television channels, it’s that they have been censored. There is not an image of President Putin that is broadcast without a prior green light, “he concludes.