Vladimir Putin 'has Parkinson's and there is something fundamentally wrong with him', ex-MI6 boss tells LBC

23 February 2024, 09:49 | Updated: 23 February 2024, 10:06

Vladimir Putin probably has Parkinson's, Sir Richard Dearlove has been told
Vladimir Putin probably has Parkinson's, Sir Richard Dearlove has been told. Picture: Getty

By Will Taylor

Vladimir Putin "probably has Parkinson's" and there is "something fundamentally wrong with him", a former head of MI6 has been told.

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Sir Richard Dearlove, who ran Britain's spy agency between 1999 and 2004 as Putin first became leader of Russia, told LBC his contacts believe the autocrat's illness could be behind his "paranoia".

It comes after Kremlin arch-enemy Alexei Navalny died at an Arctic prison colony as many held Putin responsible.

Speculation about the president's health has gone on for years thanks to images of him holding meetings at a long distance over a comically huge table or trembling during interviews.

"I have contacts, friends, still in Eastern Europe who think that there is something fundamentally wrong with him medically," Sir Richard told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

"But I'm not a clinician. Probably Parkinson's, which of course has different representations, different variations, different seriousness.

"But if the man is paranoid, and I think the murder of Navalny might suggest a certain paranoia, that is one of the symptoms."

Read more: Two years of turmoil: British support has bolstered Ukraine to resist Russian invasion, but more help is needed

Putin was seen holding down his leg during a speech to Tucker Carlson
Putin was seen holding down his leg during a speech to Tucker Carlson. Picture: X

Earlier this month, during a much-criticised interview with US presenter Tucker Carlson, Putin was spotted using his hand to stop his leg shaking.

As the 71-year-old ranted about his views on history, Boris Johnson and Nato, he pushed down on his leg to keep it in place.

Read more: Alexei Navalny’s mother ‘blackmailed’ by Kremlin with threat to 'do something' to the corpse of Putin's arch enemy

At the end of January, he appeared confused with he met with his Belarusian puppet Aleksandr Lukashenko.

On various occasions since he launched his illegal invasion of Ukraine he has looked hunched and bloated.

Sir Richard said he has been told Putin probably has Parkinson's
Sir Richard said he has been told Putin probably has Parkinson's. Picture: LBC

There have been rumours he was being treated for cancer and was suffering from side effects of treatment, but they have not been confirmed.

It was also suggested that an apparent fear of catching Covid - leading to the large meeting table - and isolation he experienced during the pandemic could have contributed to him deciding to launch the invasion.

It has cost tens of thousands of Russian lives and dragged on for two years, despite Putin's belief it would be wrapped up within days.

Putin lackeys also reportedly pick up his excrement during his trips abroad and take it back to Russia to stop foreign powers analysing it.

Wilder rumours even claim he has been using a body double.

The Kremlin - far from a reliable source of information - has denied rumours about his health.

"Everything is fine with him," spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that such claims "bring nothing but a smile".

In 2022, CIA boss William Burns joked Putin appears "entirely too healthy".

Sir Richard, who was MI6's C - the real-life equivalent of M in James Bond - also said comparisons between Adolf Hitler and Putin "inevitably" have to be made.

"We've seen him rub out successively his political opponents. Are we left in any doubt about what the character of this man is like?" he said.

"I think the terrible thing is when he came to power originally, I was still in office… I went to Moscow with Tony Blair when he was prime minister.

"We met Putin, we thought to begin with that he might be the sort of Russian leader we could deal with.

"We were completely wrong."