Russian President Vladimir Putin was once feared around the world as a bear-fighting macho, but now the Kremlin’s top man looks a shadow of his former self, appearing weak and frail in public appearances
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Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the world feared Vladimir Putin and his army.
The Russian president was seen fighting bears and boarding submarines operating deep in the Black Sea.
He portrayed a strong, masculine figure and could confidently stand next to any world leader.
But now the 69-year-old former KGB agent looks like a shadow of his former self.
While he once bathed in deer blood to boost his vitality, his recent public appearances have shown him to be a frail man.
Some say he may be showing signs of cancer.
He was spotted in Moscow on May 18 meeting Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov, an aide since his days with the KGB.
Alexey NIKOLSKY/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
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Several times during the meeting, Putin was seen coughing and with obvious discomfort as his hand clutched the table for support.
On May 17, reports indicated that Putin had to undergo emergency surgery to have fluid removed from his abdomen.
A message was shared on the General SVR app by an anti-Putin channel, which read: “On the night of Thursday May 12-Friday May 13, Putin underwent a surgical procedure to obtain fluids from his abdomen.”
Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via Reuters)
The channel is apparently run by an insider in the Kremlin who has access to what goes on behind closed doors.
Whether the abdominal surgery is related to the potential cancer or something else is not known.
But the Russian president appeared to be in trouble as he slumped uncomfortably in his chair while speaking with Chemezov.
Judi James, a body language expert, explained that Putin’s features, seen in recent photos, have always been there.
She told the Mirror: “Most of the last pictures show qualities he’s always had, but now they’re exaggerated.
“The foot tapping and handshakes have always been there. But when he does it now it looks like he’s uncomfortable or his leg hurts, it looks like weakness.”
Putin will be 70 in October and is at an age when health problems are commonplace.
Kremlin officials have consistently denied that his health is deteriorating.
However, James is not convinced that Putin looks like a man on the brink of death.
She added: “I don’t see a man close to death. He’s doing what I would call baring his groin, showing his other side.
“It makes him look weak, but I would still tread carefully because when an alpha is like that, two things can happen: a rival could knock him out or he could get public support.
“So his behavior is almost an attempt to rally support and could be a smart move for him.”
REUTERS/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Alexei Druzhinin)
Others have pointed out that Putin’s traits may indicate that he may not be able to stand up physically due to health reasons.
Professor Erik Bucy, a body language expert at Texas Tech University, told The Sun: “It’s an amazingly weakened Putin compared to the man we were watching just a few years ago.
“An able-bodied president wouldn’t need to support himself with an outstretched hand and wouldn’t bother with keeping both feet on the ground.”
SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
It has been suggested that Putin’s thin figure could be a sign of medical problems that have not been made public.
Professor Patrick Stewart of the University of Arkansas said: “The hands held up under the table are in an almost begging position, while holding the table is different from what I’ve seen before – certainly it’s something holding on tight to the podium We have seen of Putin reflecting on a stressful subject in front of the free press.”
Whatever Putin’s problem, it’s clear that Moscow’s leader is a far cry from the former warrior personality he once presented to the world.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/vladimir-putin-looks-weak-could-27069489 Vladimir Putin looks weak, but it could be a smart move, body language expert says - World News