Daily Express journalists interviewed several politicians and experts about what the future holds for the Russian president, who launched a full-scale war in Ukraine.
This week there have been reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s health is “deteriorating” and that he has cancer once again in the media. Judging by the rumors, Putin allegedly will undergo another course of treatment in March. Following a vote that took place in 2021, it is now possible for the 70-year-old Putin to be elected for two more terms, potentially staying in power until he is 84. Since the war in Ukraine is now in its second year, the British edition of the Daily Express interviewed experts and politicians, asking them what the end of the Russian president will be and under what conditions he can leave his post.
The Russian president’s health has sparked much speculation over the years, including allegations that he has Parkinson’s disease and is traveling with a thyroid cancer doctor.
But Putin still manages to keep his health a secret. Former Russian MP Ilya Ponomarev, who now lives in exile in Ukraine, noted that most politicians are quite outspoken when running for president, but “since Putin never ran in real elections, he didn’t need to be open.”
The idea that Putin would resign was considered “impossible” by Ponomarev.
Nate Sibley, a Washington, D.C.-based corruption specialist, believes Putin is likely to die in office “either from old age or with bullets in his back” despite his vast fortune.
“One thing we can predict with more certainty is that unlike many wealthy Russians, Putin does not plan to peacefully retire to a mansion on the French Riviera with his mistresses,” Sibley said.
While Putin is claimed to earn a modest £120,000 a year and live in a relatively small apartment, according to his 2020 financial statements, the Russian president is considered one of the world’s richest men. His fortune is estimated at 170 billion pounds.
Meeting between Putin and Alexander Lukashenko
“He watched closely as other former Soviet leaders tried to extricate themselves from authoritarian regimes and failed. What luxury goods can be bought with great wealth has become less important to Putin over the years than what he can control,” notes Sibley.
“Others with ambitions of their own might want to see him stripped of power, rotting in a cell or swinging from a lamppost. Whatever his future may be, it’s unlikely to be a happy one,” the expert says.
Anthony Burr, a public relations expert at Burr Media who has lived in both the UK and Russia, suggested it was unlikely that Putin would ever step down. But if it happens, that it will be either on his terms or for health reasons.
“Putin will be president for as long as he wants or his health allows. I won’t be surprised if he dies on the job. He won’t give up easily, and who can remove him? Nobody. For the past 23 years, he managed to eliminate any threats by any means,” Burr recalled that all high positions in the government of the Russian Federation have been occupied by his “friends” since Putin’s service in the KGB, and that he managed to change the Constitution during his reign, which allowed him to rule indefinitely, turning modern Russia “into a real autocracy.”
Burr stressed that only Putin himself and his attending physicians know the truth about his state of health, adding that Putin creates an image of a “strong man” who “just doesn’t get sick,” especially during the war, when Russians are increasingly worried and looking in their stability leader.
President of the Russian Federation shortly before the start of the war in Ukraine
Dr. Roger Gewolb, political pundit and CEO of Fairmoney.com, also called Putin’s health “a major predisposing factor.”
He noted that it is difficult to judge, especially from a distance and through the media, the actual mental or physical health of a major public figure.
“Of course, with all the repeated evidence, it is still impossible to say that President Putin is not fit for office,” Dr. Gewolb considers it obvious that the Russian president has serious health problems, but it is impossible to judge how critical they are to his work and to his stay in office.
Recall that earlier political strategist and writer Mikhail Sheitelman said that at the pro-Kremlin concert in Luzhniki on February 22, it was not Vladimir Putin himself who performed, but one of his doubles.
Kirill Budanov, head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, also spoke about the fact that Putin uses at least three doubles. Budanov claims that even though the “Putins” have had plastic surgery, they are betrayed by the difference in height.
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