In a recent interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin was observed using his hand to manage his leg, sparking renewed speculation about his health. The interview, Putin's first with a Western media figure since the onset of the Ukraine conflict nearly two years ago, inadvertently drew attention to his physical condition when viewers noticed Putin's apparent effort to control his leg's movement.
Social media platforms, particularly X (formerly Twitter), buzzed with comments and theories following the release of the interview footage. Observers pointed out the unusual moment where Putin seemed to consciously adjust his leg, leading to widespread conjecture about his well-being. "It's strange and he appears to be too aware, too conscious of himself," one user remarked, highlighting the peculiarity of the incident.
This is not the first time Putin's health has been under scrutiny. Similar instances in the past, including a meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko where Putin was seen constantly moving his legs and feet, have fueled ongoing rumors. Claims have ranged from serious ailments like cancer and Parkinson's disease to suggestions of cardiac arrest. However, the Kremlin has consistently denied such rumors, affirming that Putin is in good health.
During the interview, Putin engaged on various topics, from the situation in Ukraine to relations with the United States, while carefully avoiding an endorsement of any candidate in the upcoming 2024 U.S. election. He reminisced about his rapport with former President Donald Trump, contrasting it with his lack of recent communication with President Joe Biden.
Amidst these discussions, Putin's health remained a silent subplot, further emphasized by his need to calm his leg and occasional coughing and throat clearing. Critics have previously seized upon such moments to question Putin's fitness for office, with some even alleging the use of body doubles for public appearances.
The General SVR Telegram channel, known for its sensational claims about Putin's health, alleged a cardiac arrest incident last fall, suggesting that Putin's subsequent public appearances were made by body doubles. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed these allegations as "another fake [rumor]."
Despite the intrigue surrounding Putin's health, many viewers of the interview with Carlson considered the Russian leader to appear robust, contradicting the persistent rumors of serious illness. "Didn't they say Putin had cancer and was in very poor health? Seems pretty good to me," one social media user commented, reflecting a segment of public opinion that remains skeptical of the health rumors.
As Putin navigates the complex landscape of international politics and domestic challenges, the speculation around his health adds an intriguing layer to the narrative of his leadership. The Kremlin's dismissals notwithstanding, episodes like the Carlson interview continue to fuel debate and conjecture about the true state of the Russian president's health and his capacity to lead.