(FiveNation.com)- The rumors about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ill health have been flying around like bats for months. And now, a former chief of Britain’s MI6 is predicting that Putin will likely be out of power next year and languishing in a sanatorium.
During the podcast “One Decision,” co-host Sir Richard Dearlove decided to “stick my neck out” and make a wild prediction about Vladimir Putin’s fate. “I think he’ll be gone by 2023,” Dearlove said.
Dearlove believes that the 69-year-old Putin will probably be sent to a sanatorium and won’t be emerging “as leader of Russia.” Whether Putin is truly unwell or not, however, isn’t the point. Dearlove believes sending him to a long-term medical facility would be an “elegant” alternative to a coup.
Dearlove, who headed up the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service from 1999 to 2004, added that the Kremlin has no plan of succession in place should Vladimir Putin leave, but suggested that the Russian president would likely be replaced by Nikolai Patrushev, the secretary of the Security Council of Russia.
The rumors about Putin’s poor health have been circulating over the last couple of years after he underwent emergency surgery in February 2020. Since then, some have suspected the Russian leader was suffering from a debilitating disease like cancer or Parkinson’s.
But the health rumors kicked into overdrive after footage from a February 18 meeting with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko showed the Russian president’s hands shaking uncontrollably.
The UK Sun reported in late April that an anonymous Kremlin insider had told the Russian media outlet, General SVR, that Putin was to undergo surgery for cancer, but the “insider” did not specifically describe the nature of the operation.
In photos from Putin’s April meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the 69-year-old president can be seen gripping the table and slouching down in his chair.
During the May 9 Victory Day military parade in Moscow, Putin was seen walking with a limp and sitting with a blanket covering his lap.
Two weeks ago, during a meeting with Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon, the Russian president was plagued with restless, fidgeting feet. The physical tic was so pronounced that even President Rahmon could be seen looking down at Putin’s feet during the televised footage from the meeting.
None of the rumors about Putin’s health, however, have been verified.