Is Putin ill or isn’t he? That is the question. Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, predicted that yes, Putin is ill and will no longer be the leader of his country by 2023 because of health issues.
Allahpundit wrote about Putin’s gripping of the table during a meeting with defense minister Sergei Shoigu. Ed noted the crazy small table at which the two men sat. Weird things are happening, even for Putin.
Newsweek reports on an interview given by Sir Richard on the One Decision podcast. He thinks Putin will be put in a sanatorium. And there’s a comment made by Oliver Stone last week about a past battle with cancer.
“I think he’ll be gone by 2023, but probably into the sanatorium,” Dearlove said during the One Decision podcast, adding that Putin, who is 69 years old, will not emerge as the “leader of Russia” anymore after coming out of the medical facility. “That’s a way to sort of move things on without a coup.”
Dearlove’s comments come amid ongoing speculation about Putin’s health, even though the Kremlin has not publicly commented about it since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
Earlier this week, U.S. film director Oliver Stone said that the Russian president has already struggled with and overcome cancer during the time in which the filmmaker focused his work on the Russian president.
“Remember this, Mr. Putin has had this cancer and I think he’s licked it,” Stone said without specifying the type of cancer he had.
Dearlove also predicted that the Russian regime would “break apart” in the next 12 to 18 months because of the sanctions from the West, Putin’s war in Ukraine, and the Russian military’s performance.
Are the sanctions working though? The ruble crashed, the Russian stock market had to close, and Russians waited in line to take their money out of banks. Then Putin acted. Putin stabilized the Russian economy, or at least that is what we are to think.
The country’s central bank responded by sharply hiking interest rates to 20 percent and imposing strict capital controls. Those interventions, along with Russia’s still-intact ability to sell its oil and gas abroad, helped create a buffer against the economic chaos after the initial sanctions shock. The measures were “straight out of the country’s economic crisis playbook,” said Adam Smith, a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who worked on sanctions during the Obama administration.
The economic crisis playbook did its job, and calmed the immediate crisis. The ruble stabilized. That allowed Russia to declare victory over the sanctions onslaught. “The strategy of the economic blitz has failed,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in April.
At least, that is what Russia would like to claim. Russia’s efforts to shore up its currency mask the profound economic disruptions and transformations that sanctions are unleashing within Russia right now. The West’s sanctions are isolating Russia, cutting it off from key imports that it needs for commercial goods and its own manufacturing to make its economy work. That means high-tech imports like microchips, to develop advanced weaponry. But it also means buttons for shirts.
The sanctions are working but it takes time. Putin is slowly being isolated. His invasion into Ukraine has not turned out as he imagined. The emperor has no clothes. Some experts predict food lines and a devastated Russian economy in the near future.
Russia is facing a deep recession, one the Bank of Russia says will be “of a transformational, structural nature.” The Finance Ministry has predicted the Russian GDP will shrink by about 8.8 percent in 2022. Inflation is expected to clock in as high as 23 percent this year. Russia is looking at a looming debt default. All of this will mean hardship for ordinary Russians, who are already seeing their real incomes shrink. Some tens of thousands have tried to flee, especially those in tech, prompting a potential “brain drain.” And these are the things we know; Russia will cease publishing a lot of economic data, a tactic, experts said, Moscow has used before to obscure the effects of sanctions.
These sanctions, said Yakov Feygin, a political economy expert at the Berggruen Institute, are pushing Russia — a modern economy, integrated around the globe — back decades and decades.
“They’ve stabilized it, they’ve taken emergency measures. That was to be expected. But that’s not going to help them in the long run,” Feygin said of Russia. “You’re not going to see people queuing for food for quite a bit. But with the current course of things, it’s still very possible.”
So, with all this weighing on Putin, isn’t it a little odd that now he’s appearing on camera and showing physical weakness? This is a man who is all about a macho image – the bare-chested horseback rider. (Sorry for putting that image out.) He swaggers when he walks. Is it all a ruse? Does Putin just want us to think that he is ill? There have been rumors that he suffers from Parkinson’s disease and that he has blood cancer. The former would explain the table gripping and the latter could explain his puffy face and paleness. He does not look well.
He’s a KGB man, though. It could all be an act to distract us. One analyst thinks that is the case. Maybe Putin is trying to flush out any rivals.
Olga Lautman, a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis believes there is no truth to the rumors about Putin’s ill health, although she did suggest it could be a Kremlin ploy.
“I honestly don’t believe any of it and am very curious why Russia is putting these rumors out,” she told Newsweek.
As Newsweek previously reported, Lautman said earlier this month that with Russia being such a controlled society where Kremlin officials keep a tight rein on information, Putin’s exhibition of symptoms of sickness could only be “theatrics and distraction.”
But just what officials could be up to is unclear. She believed it could be a plan to see if anyone was attempting a power grab, or to lay the groundwork to put a new face in the Kremlin.
Another reason might be a way to float the idea that a sick Putin may step down so there is no need for them to worry about his iron rule.
“Just because we might think that circulating rumors about a leader’s health would be a potential strategy to try to weaken the leader’s hold on power, it does not mean that the leader in question could not actually be sick,” said Tucker. “I suspect very few people know the answer to that question.”
It’s likely Putin’s health could be an easy scapegoat for his military failures in Ukraine. It’s impossible for us to know as long as the Kremlin operates in secrecy as it does. It may well be true that Putin suffers from maladies. He could still remain in power for years to come if nothing drastically changes in his physical health. He’s 69 years old. He may last another ten years if the Russian people don’t find the will to revolt after the travesties of Putin’s war in Ukraine. We’ll see if Sir Richard’s prediction is correct or not.