‘Putin’s NOT quitting’: Kremlin insist the Russian president, 68, is in ‘excellent health’ and denies he will quit in January amid claims he has Parkinson’s – as it’s revealed he will get life-long immunity from prosecution
- Putin, 68, is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, according to a prominent critic
- Recent footage of Putin’s ‘legs swinging as he clutched a chair’ raised eyebrows
- A spokesman dismissed claims as ‘nonsense’ saying Putin is in ‘excellent health’
- The leader is also seeking life-long immunity in new bills introduced this week
- The leader would become a senator for life and receive state perks after office
The Kremlin has denied Vladimir Putin is planning to quit as Russian President amid claims he is suffering from ill health and may step down as early as January.
The 68-year-old strongman’s future has been the subject of increasing speculation after prominent critic Professor Valery Solovei suggested the leader was suffering from Parkinson’s and that his family had urged him to retire in the new year.
It comes as it emerged that Putin is making retirement plans by introducing a new bill which would make him a senator for life and guarantee him life-long immunity after office.
But on Friday morning, Kremlin spokesman and deputy chief of staff Dmitry Peskov insisted Putin was in ‘excellent health’ and dismissed the Parkinson’s claims as ‘complete nonsense’.
Russian President Vladimir Putin during a working meeting via teleconference call at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on Thursday
The 68-year-old strongman president of Russia is being urged to retire by his former gymnast lover Alina Kabaeva, 37, insiders say (pictured recently, left, and winning at the Olympics in 2004, right)
His denial comes after Solovei last night said that Putin’s gymnast lover Alina Kabaeva, as well as his daughters Maria Vorontsova, 35, Katerina Tikhonova, 34, were urging him to step down.
Footage has circulated in Russia of Putin’s legs moving around as he gripped onto the armrest of a chair, suggesting his ill health. Eyes are also drawn to a twitching pen in the former KGB operative’s fingers and a cup which analysts have suggested were filled with painkillers.
It is not the first time that people have speculated that Putin may be suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Putin has cultivated an athletic image: riding horses, wrestling, playing ice hockey and swimming in frigid lakes (pictured: on the rink in Moscow in December 2019)
Others have previously noted his ‘gunslinger’s gait’ – a clearly reduced right arm swing compared to his left, giving him a lilting swagger.
An asymmetrically reduced arm swing is a classic feature of Parkinson’s and can manifest in ‘clinically intact subjects with a predisposition to later develop’ the disease, according to the British Medical Journal.
‘There is a family, it has a great influence on him. He intends to make public his handover plans in January,’ Solovei said.
He suggested a new prime minister will soon be appointed by Putin who will be ‘groomed’ to takeover.
It comes as Putin is introducing plans to guarantee him immunity after office, which state-run RT media say will be seen ‘as a sign that the groundwork is being laid for an eventual transition of power in Russia’.
Putin and any subsequent ex-president will be permitted within three months of leaving the presidency to become a member of the Federation Council, the country’s upper house or senate, for life.
‘This is Russia copying the outdated British system of life peers in the House of Lords,’ said one Moscow source.
Russian presidents are currently only protected for actions taken while they were in office.
The president’s advisers have always poured scorn on the notion that his health is failing and Putin has cultivated an athletic image: riding horses, wrestling, playing ice hockey and swimming in frigid lakes.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of the senatorial shift: ‘This is the practice that is being applied in many countries of the world, and it is quite justified.
‘This is not innovation from the point of view of international practice.’
Russia’s Olympic and multiple world champion in rhythmic gymnastics Alina Kabaeva attends Legends of Sports, a costumed gymnastic show at Megasport Arena in Moscow in September 2016