The Kremlin’s top spokesman denied rumors on Friday that President Vladimir Putin is planning to resign from his position as a result of his allegedly deteriorating health condition, calling the rumors “pure nonsense.”
The U.K. tabloid the Sun claimed this week that anonymous sources in Moscow believed that Putin was fighting a chronic health condition, possibly Parkinson’s disease, and that his family was pressuring him to step aside. Putin, a former KGB agent, first served as president of Russia from 1999 to 2008, then switched positions with underling Dmitry Medvedev and held the prime ministership until returning to the presidency in 2012.
“There isn’t much to comment on here,” Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday of the Sun report, according to Russian news outlet TASS. “This is pure nonsense. The president is well.”
Peskov insisted that Putin was in “excellent” health.
Sputnik, a Russian state propaganda outlet, mocked the allegations that Putin may step down, publishing a retrospective of similar rumors throughout Putin’s tenure at the helm of the country.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has mocked the decision by U.S. officials to fly a rainbow pride flag over the embassy in Moscow, saying it “tells you something about the people who work there.” https://t.co/86lxFBaS4a
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 5, 2020
The Sun cited “informed analysts” and “Moscow sources” to report otherwise, getting one expert, Russian professor Valery Solovei, on the record.
“There is a family, it has a great influence on him. He intends to make public his handover plans in January,” Solovei said, allegedly referring to “glamorous ex-gymnast lover Alina Kabaeva” as the influence most having an impact on Putin’s decision to walk away from power. Putin, who divorced wife Lyudmila Aleksandrovna Ocheretnaya in 2014, is not publically in a relationship with Kabaeva.
“Kremlin watchers said recent tell-tale footage showed the 68-year-old strongman has possible symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease,” the newspaper added.
The newspaper also claimed that evidence suggested that he was suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. The “evidence,” the Sun said, was video footage showing arm movement that unnamed medical experts said was consistent with Parkinson’s symptoms. There is no evidence that the medical experts cited have personally examined Putin.
Another sign that Putin may be considering stepping down, according to the Sun, is legislation currently in debate in the Russian Duma that would prevent the prosecution of presidents after the end of their terms. Lawmakers introduced the bill on Thursday, which would offer former presidents immunity for life, among other benefits. Russia has only one living former president, Dmitry Medvedev.
The bill would allow the Duma to remove presidential immunity after a president’s term with a 2/3 majority vote, but only if facing charges of treason or severe felonies.
The state-run media outlet Russia Today (RT) admitted to the speculation surrounding the bill regarding the potential for Putin to step down.
“For some, the bill will be interpreted as a clear sign that Putin is preparing the ground to leave the post of president sooner rather than later, despite a recent constitutional amendment allowing him to potentially stay in power until 2036, should he win re-election,” RT noted.
Elsewhere in remarks to the press on Friday, Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, ensured reporters that Putin had not limited his workload or presidential responsibilities in light of renewed limitations on movement to prevent the spread of the Chinese coronavirus. Russia began experiencing a significant rise in coronavirus cases in October, particularly in Moscow.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he could work with Joe Biden in a new administration, citing common ground he shared with the Democrats over a shared embrace of Soviet ideology. https://t.co/qUPEN7VfB2
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) October 7, 2020
Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin confirmed on Thursday that the situation in the capital city has worsened in the past week and announced that distance learning in schools will continue. Russia has documented about 1.7 million cases of coronavirus nationwide since the pandemic began, a number that many international experts have questioned given the Putin regime’s history of deceit.
“Naturally, the work mode is affected by the epidemiological threats. The corresponding measures are taken to ensure the president’s health, but as you can see, this in no way affects the substantive and intensive nature of his work,” Peskov assured.
Peskov also answered questions regarding Putin’s eligibility for experimental coronavirus vaccine candidates. Putin, who has no medical education or career history, approved a Russian candidate, Sputnik V, in August despite the fact that the candidate had not cleared all clinical trials. International experts, including American Chinese coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci, have publicly doubted Sputnik V’s effectiveness.
Putin has claimed his daughter had taken the vaccine candidate and that it had no significant side effects. The Russian president has two daughters and never clarified which one allegedly took the vaccine candidate.
Peskov said in September that Putin himself would receive the vaccine candidate in anticipation for a trip he intended to plan to South Korea.
On Friday, Peskov did not confirm that Putin had taken it yet, instead saying he would alert the press when he did.