Rumors of Putin Planning to Step Down; Kremlin Denies It

Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is spreading reports that Putin has Parkinson’s and may resign in January:

The Sun: PUTIN 'TO QUIT' Vladimir Putin, 68, ‘stepping down as Russian president early next year amid fears he has Parkinson’s’

VLADIMIR Putin is planning to quit early next year amid growing fears for his health, Moscow sources claimed last night.

Kremlin watchers said recent tell-tale footage showed the 68-year-old strongman has possible symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

. . .

And informed analysts claimed that the Russian president’s glamorous ex-gymnast lover Alina Kabaeva, 37 – once dubbed 'Russia's most flexible woman' – is begging him to release his grip on power.

Observers who studied recent footage of Putin noted his legs appeared to be in constant motion and he looked to be in pain while clutching the armrest of a chair.

His fingers are also seen to be twitching as he held a pen and gripped a cup believed to contain a cocktail of painkillers.

The NY Post picked up the story, but then also reported the Kremlin’s denial: Russia denies Vladimir Putin planning to step down over health concerns

The Kremlin threw cold water Friday on a report that Vladimir Putin plans to step down next year amid speculation that he may be suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

British tabloid The Sun on Thursday cited Moscow political pundit Valery Solovei as saying that the longtime strongman’s 37-year-old gal pal Alina Kabaeva and his two daughters are pushing him to leave office.

“It’s absolute nonsense,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday, Reuters reported. “Everything is fine with the president.”

Here is what we do know: The entire Russian cabinet has stepped down: Vladimir Putin's cabinet resigns after he proposes big changes to Russia's constitution

The surprise mass-resignation followed Putin's proposal to give more power to the country's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, to choose future prime ministers and other top government officials. Putin's political allies hold a significant majority of the seats in the Duma.

and those changes?

The proposed constitutional changes would reduce the powers of Putin's eventual successor, though he emphasized in his speech that Russia “must remain a strong presidential republic.”  

Also

The constitution currently bans anyone from serving more than two consecutive presidential terms, but Putin proposed Wednesday to limit future presidents to a maximum of two terms, total.

Now, this could be in preparation for Putin’s currently scheduled departure from office in 2024, but then why would the cabinet quit now? Almost certainly they quit because he told them to, so it’s possible he told them to clear out so he could put in people he trusts more to guard his back once he's no longer around to watch them.

And there was this from The Sun:

Speculation that his 20-year-reign – second only to that of Stalin – could be nearing an end grew earlier this week when laws were drafted to make him a senator-for-life when he resigns.

Legislation introduced by Putin himself was being rushed through parliament to guarantee him legal immunity from prosecution and state perks until he dies.

If nothing else, this shows Putin is a professional where Trump is an amateur.

Health is often used as an excuse to leave when the real reason is politically or legally embarrassing. And it is . . . interesting . . . that this is coming out just as Putin’s Puppet is about to get tossed in the trash can. But I don't see it that way. First, Putin’s goal wasn’t so much to install Trump as to destabilize the US — a goal he he has gotten a long way toward achieving. By all reports, he didn’t try to interfere in the actual election, his disinformation campaign was aimed less at boosting Trump than at casting doubt all over, and he declined to help Trump on things like extending START even when Trump publicly begged him to. Plus, as I have always said, Putin has to have been nervous that someone as unstable as Trump was in command of the nuclear weapons pointed at his country.

As for Biden, Putin would find him more formidable than Trump (hell, my overweight cat would be more formidable), but Biden is a known quantity and also the farthest thing from nuts. Putin would be able to live with him.

Moscow political scientist Professor Valery Solovei fuelled further speculation last night by suggesting Putin may have symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Solovei is an academic who says he was forced out of his post as chair of the Public Relations Department at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) for “political reasons.” He does have an uneven record of predictions, but he also has a reputation as a “renowned scholar.” If he’s anything like the scholars I deal with, he wouldn’t say the sun rose in the east this morning without having sold backing. Take that for what it’s worth, but I for one will not be surprised if Joe Biden has a new sparring partner in Moscow before long.