What’s wrong with Vladimir Putin?

Sane or not, media have for months speculated over the state of the Russian leader, interpreting everything from his bloated appearance as a sign of steroid-use, to implying the Russian leader has Parkinson’s and cancer. Video footage showing Putin fiercely gripping a table while looking uncomfortable during a recent meeting, making twitchy hand gestures and seeming to limp during Russia’s Victory Day parade, have only added to this free-for-all among armchair physicians.

Doctors have so far argued none of this is strong enough to indicate Putin is ill, and only an up-close diagnosis could verify the rumors. Intelligence experts have largely agreed.

In truth, the rumors must sting for a leader so obsessed with his virile image. Putin has long attempted to cast himself as a strongman, in every sense of the term. His displays of hyper-masculinity have become notorious across the world — from riding on horseback half-naked in Siberia, to firing brand new Kalashnikovs in Moscow and playing ice hockey with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in St. Petersburg.

But this game of whack-a-mole around the president’s health — as rumors surface in the press and the Kremlin scrambles to stamp them out — is nothing new. Here is a brief summary of the top moments when Putin’s health came into question over the years, and how the government sought to shut them down.

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