Canned footage, which had been recorded much earlier, was used in video appearances for several meetings, it was alleged as speculation grows about the Russian president’s health
Vladimir Putin ‘s public appearances were “staged” last week to mask an absence from duties – raising new speculation about his health – an opposition source has claimed.
Canned footage, which had been recorded much earlier, was used in video appearances for several meetings, it was alleged.
The mysterious General SVR Telegram channel claims aide Nikolai Patrushev – a former FSB chief – is now in virtual control of the Kremlin.
He receives top level briefings that would normally go direct to Putin, it is claimed.
The same outlet has previously asserted that Putin has been ordered by doctors to undergo surgery related to a cancer condition, and had predicted his temporary disappearance despite the war in Ukraine.
In its latest post, the channel – which claims insider Kremlin information – said key figures believe Putin to be terminally ill which has altered the dynamic in Russia.
His absence “since Tuesday” cannot be verified but the channel said his staff “show pre-recorded videos of his meetings”.
Face to face meetings with Rostech head Sergei Chemezovand Rosatom chief Alexey Likhachev were said to have taken place on Wednesday and Thursday but these were said to have taken place earlier and been saved to give the impression Putin was active.
It was unclear if a virtual security council appearance by Putin on Friday was also seen as “staged”.
In this, Putin claimed the West was seeking to hack key Russian government websites.
The post did not make clear if his alleged absence was for surgery or another purpose.
Putin kept a low profile during the weekend when Russian forces increased their attacks on Ukraine.
Only Patrushev – secretary of the security council and a hardline pro-war Putin ally – is currently maintaining official communications with the president, said the channel.
AFP via Getty Images)
“Let’s see how long this lasts, but the situation is getting tense,” said General SVR.
“The fact is that the elites are not ready to perceive Patrushev as a person who guarantees the current status quo.
“Everyone is well aware that if Vladimir Putin retires suddenly or gradually, then the situation will change radically.”
Putin “is sick and has diseases that are incurable, such as oncology, which is at a stage that, today, cannot be cured, Parkinson’s disease and a schizoaffective disorder.”
The Russian leader “is certainly receiving the most advanced, most innovative treatment, and he has the ability to prolong his life, there is no doubt about it”.
But it was unclear when his condition might deteriorate.
“There is a general feeling, including among the attending physicians, that all this will not last very long,” said the post.
“But, again, we have already said that many people think that now Putin will die and something will change radically.”
There are people in the government ready to “sabotage” attempts for a continuation of Putin’s repressive style of government after he is forced to leave.
Victory of Ukraine in the war would trigger this process.
“There are people [ in positions of power] who are ready to help big changes,” said the post.
This could include the release of “political prisoners” like Putin foes Alexei Navalny.
“Everyone in the elite is well aware of what the death of the president will lead to.
“There will be a big redistribution, there are no guarantees for either the servicemen or any of the security forces. Simply not.”
The anti-Putin channel’s regular claims on his medical problems are supposedly based on “intelligence” from an exiled Kremlin lieutenant-general insider who is known by the alias Viktor Mikhailovich.
Recently it claimed Putin has undergone removal of fluid from the abdomen, which might indicate serious medical problems, but there was no official confirmation.
The channel is also linked to political analyst Professor Valery Solovey – who has claimed detailed knowledge of Putin’s supposed health problems.
Solovey – who boasts secret sources in the Kremlin – said in an interview with Zhivoi Gvozd youtube channel: “It is an undeniable fact that [Putin] has a whole bunch of quite serious diseases.”
US filmmaker who spent many hours with Putin making documentaries on him alleged Putin earlier had cancer which he had “licked”, which, if true, the Kremlin has not admitted.
Putin – who will be 70 in October -recently failed to take part in an annual ice hockey match that is normally a regular fixture in his diary.
Last year he had said of playing ice hockey: “You extend your life, you make it of better quality and deeper meaning.”
The channel said: “The victory over the Putin regime will bring not only peace, but also the prosperity of Russia, therefore, paradoxically… victory of Ukraine will lead to the collapse of the Putin regime, and, accordingly, to the liberation of Russia [and] all citizens of the Russian Federation who …ready to live freely and develop without any restrictions from this criminal regime.”
In the online security council session, Putin was shown complaining that Russia was under attack from Western hackers.
“Since the special military operation in Donbas and Ukraine… Russia has essentially become the target of aggression, of an information war,” he said.
“The number of cyber-attacks, including complex attacks, has multiplied.
“Experts believe it would not be possible for lone hackers to achieve that.
“Hackers attack from different countries in a well-coordinated effort…conducted by state-run structures…
“We know that the armies of some countries officially include cyber-troops.
“Targeted attempts to disable online resources of critical information infrastructure in Russia have been detected.
Media outlets, financial institutions and widely used public websites and networks have been hit the hardest
“Official government websites have been subjected to serious attacks.
“Attempts to hack into corporate networks of major Russian companies are detected substantially more often.”