New footage of Vladimir Putin bizarrely twisting his foot and seemingly struggling with jerky leg movements has further stoked rumours the Russian President may be experiencing a sharp decline in health.
The clip, taken yesterday as Putin met with his counterpart from Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, showed the Russian leader’s left foot repeatedly raising and lowering as his knee collapsed inward.
Putin later adjusted his position in the chair and settled his foot firmly on the ground as he spoke with Rahmon about the development of relations between Russia and Tajikistan, but his leg appeared to go on twitching.
The strange movements caught the eye of the Tajik leader, who appeared somewhat unsettled as he looked down and watched Putin’s foot erratically flexing.
There has been much speculation on the state of the Russian President’s health in recent weeks with health experts, politicians and even exiled Russian businessmen claiming he is likely battling a severe illness.
Parkinson’s disease – a brain disorder which affects motor skills – is one condition frequently cited by commentators which Putin could be facing.
Restless legs syndrome – an uncontrollable urge to move ones lower limbs and feet – is a symptom often exhibited by Parkinson’s sufferers.
The clip, taken yesterday as Putin met with his counterpart from Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, showed the Russian leader’s left foot repeatedly raising and lowering as his knee collapsed inward
The strange movements caught the eye of the Tajik leader, who appeared somewhat unsettled as he looked down and watched Putin’s foot erratically flexing
Vladimir Putin (centre) watched part of the Victory Day parade in Moscow with a blanket draped over his lap, while geriatric war veterans sat around him uncovered
Foot-twitching and leg tremors – does Russian leader have Parkinson’s?
Parkinson’s is a brain disorder which causes its victims to experience tremors, shaking, stiffness in one or several body parts.
Restless legs syndrome is a condition that causes an overwhelming urge to move one’s legs, and is a telltale sign of Parkinson’s disease.
People suffering this disease typically appear uncomfortable, regularly jerk their feet and legs and shift positions as a result – behaviour which Putin has exhibited on several occasions.
Subtle changes in a person’s walking pattern, such as slow or unsteady steps and dragging feet, are also indicators of Parkinson’s.
Putin appeared unsteady on his feet at the May 9 Victory Day celebrations in Moscow, and also before a meeting with Lukashenko in February.
Dystonia – a condition causing stiff muscles and cramps which lead to strange twisting motions and unusual postures in the affected body parts – is typically associated with Parkinson’s.
The constant flexing and twisting of Putin’s foot as exhibited in the latest clip on May 16 could well be a symptom of dystonia.
The clip from yesterday’s meeting between Putin and the Tajik president is the latest in a stream of videos and images in which the Russian leader appears uncomfortable and frail.
At Russia’s Victory Day celebrations on May 9, the 69-year-old delivered a speech in which he projected an image of Russian strength and military might despite the faltering war in Ukraine.
But at several points – including as he left a speaking podium and went to the Tomb of the Unknown Solider to lay a wreath – Putin appeared to be walking with a heavy step, as if trying to disguise a limp.
During the parade itself, he was seen sitting with a heavy blanket across his knees despite geriatric war veterans being sat around him with their laps uncovered.
In late April, Putin was filmed speaking with defence minister Sergei Shoigu at the Kremlin but appeared bloated and uncomfortable as he gripped the table throughout the entire meeting.
Putin’s uncharacteristically puffy face and neck sparked claims he is undergoing steroid treatment, whilst reports have suggested Putin is ‘constantly’ accompanied by a doctor specialising in thyroid cancer.
Surgeon Yevgeny Selivanov, of Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital, has flown to the Black Sea resort Sochi – one of Putin’s preferred residences – dozens of times in recent years.
The respected doctor’s thesis – showing his area of medical expertise – was entitled: ‘Peculiarities of diagnostics and surgical treatment of elderly and senile patients with thyroid cancer’.
Putin also appeared unsteady and awkward in his movements during a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on February 18, days prior to the invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian leader seemed to stagger has he stepped towards his ally to greet him and appeared weak and frail next to the Belarusian.
A bloated Vladimir Putin is seen gripping a table whilst slouching in his chair during a televised meeting with his defence minister Sergei Shoigu amid rumours the Russian strongman is battling a severe illness such as cancer or Parkinson’s
Putin gripped the armrest of his chair during a meeting with Alexander Lukashenko earlier this year, after footage showed his arm shaking
Two years before he decided to invade Ukraine, rumours began swirling about Putin’s health including suggestions he had undergone cancer surgery.
Valery Solovey, a political analyst and prominent Putin critic, began spreading the rumour in late 2020 while also suggesting he was suffering from Parkinson’s.
The rumours gained such traction that the Kremlin was forced to go on record and deny them, with Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisting his boss was in ‘excellent health’ and any suggestion to the contrary was ‘complete nonsense’.
But the whispering has steadfastly refused to die out and has intensified since the war in Ukraine began, with critics suggesting that Putin looks unwell in many of his televised appearances.
To add to speculation over his health, Putin last week missed an annual ice hockey match where he usually plays the starring role.
The Russian leader has made a habit of gliding over the ice at an annual match during Russia’s Night Hockey League National Festival in May.
But this year he instead sent a video message wishing competitors in Sochi ‘good luck in their ice battles’ – despite being in the same city where the match took place.
It is only the second time that the President has missed the game since 2012, with the first instance being due to health problems.
In May 2021, Putin boasted that ice hockey offered him longevity, and he used his appearance to scotch rumours over his health at the time.
What’s wrong with Putin?
Rumours have been circling for years that Putin is suffering from health problems, and they have intensified since he launched his brutal invasion of Ukraine.
Critics and Kremlin sources have indicated he may be suffering from cancer of Parkinson’s, supported by footage showing the leader shaking uncontrollably and gripping a table for support.
He has also disappeared from the public eye for weeks at a time, with suggestions he is undergoing surgery.
Valery Solovey, professor at Moscow State Institute of Foreign Affairs first hinted at Putin’s health problems, said in 2020 that Putin had undergone surgery for cancer.
Another unnamed source suggested the operation was on Putin’s abdomen.
He said: ‘One is of a psycho-neurological nature, the other is a cancer problem.
‘If anyone is interested in the exact diagnosis, I’m not a doctor, and I have no ethical right to reveal these problems.
‘The second diagnosis is a lot, lot more dangerous than the first named diagnosis as Parkinson’s does not threaten physical state, but just limits public appearances.
‘Based on this information people will be able to make a conclusion about his life horizon, which wouldn’t even require specialist medical education.’
The Kremlin has consistently denied that there is anything wrong with Putin’s health.
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.
In February, Putin was seen with a shaking hand as he firmly gripped the side of his chair for support.
The clip, which was taken on February 18, just before the onset of his invasion of Ukraine, shows him welcoming fellow strongman Alexander Lukashenko at the Kremlin.
He pulls his trembling hand into his body in an attempt to quell the shakes, but then he almost stumbles as he unsteadily walks towards Lukashenko.
Later, Putin sits on a chair but is unable to remain still, constantly fidgeting and tapping his feet while he grips onto the arm for support.
In a meeting last month with defence minister Sergei Shoigu, Putin’s poor posture and his apparently bloated face and neck fuelled the speculation.
Video showed Putin speaking to Shoigu whilst gripping the edge of the table with his right hand – so hard that it appears white – and tapping his foot consistently.