While for the past several hours, media the world over has been citing a New York Post report that claims Russian President Vladimir Putin is suffering from cancer and must immediately be admitted to a hospital for its treatment — amid speculations that he suffers from Parkinson’s Syndrome as well — no Russia-based media house has corroborated the report.
The New York Post cited doctors suggesting Putin undergo the operation on the basis of a Telegram channel purportedly run by a former Russian Foreign Intelligence Service lieutenant general.
“We know that Putin signalled to Patrushev that he considers him to be practically his only trusted ally and friend in the government,” the report claimed. “Additionally, the president promised that if his health takes a turn for the worse, actual control of the country will temporarily pass into Patrushev’s hands.”
What makes the report fishy is the fact that the West sees Patrushev, the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, an influential body that answers directly to Putin and issues guidance on military and security issues within Russia, as a villain. “Patrushev is an outright villain. He is no better than Vladimir Putin. Moreover, he is a more cunning and, I would say, more insidious person than Vladimir Putin. If he comes to power, Russians’ problems will only multiply,” the owner of the Telegram channel which claimed Putin’s cancer surgery said. This indicates the report is a bid in the direction of projecting Putin’s Russia, which has attacked Ukraine, as a dark force.
The desperation of the Western media sources showed in parts where they said they drew the inference from a story that claimed Putin was seen clasping the edge of a desk during his meeting with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu last month.
Sirf News accessed Russia Today as well as Sputnik, the two most widely read Russian websites that are banned by all major browsers, but found no news of Putin’s cancer dated today or in the recent past.
The closest any Russian report came to the New York Post‘s report of today turned out to be a denial issued more than two years ago. The February 2020 report in Russia Today read:
A well-known Russian conspiracy theorist, who previously claimed that President Vladimir Putin was planning to step down because he had cancer and Parkinson’s disease, has been detained for questioning by Moscow law enforcement, according to his lawyer.
Local media reported on Wednesday that Solovey, a political scientist and former professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), had his house searched by authorities and was then taken into custody along with his son. A source told Znak that the search had been undertaken on suspicion that he had violated the Russian criminal code by “inciting hatred or enmity.”
However, RIA Novosti reported that Solovey’s sister, Tatyana, said that he and his son had been brought to speak with Russia’s Investigative Committee as witnesses to a crime.
A geopolitical expert in the Indian government said under the condition of anonymity that “the idea behind this propaganda can be twofold”.
“They want to affect the morale of Russians and, at the same time, boost the confidence of Ukraine, the US and Nato to believe their troubles are nearing an end as Putin is on his way out,” the source said.
The report was so unreliable that even the US refused to believe it. While the story referred to Putin’s supposedly “sickly appearance and uncharacteristically fidgety behaviour in public” in recent times, a US official said that the media reports could not be verified with Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby saying, “I have seen nothing that could help us corroborate that.”