It is now a literary genre that for eight months has been enriched with new details and continuous twists. From cancer to narcissism, from long Covid to the delusion of omnipotence, from Parkinson’s to madness, there is practically no physical or psychological pathology that the “experts” have not attributed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, systematically covered by the mainstream press. The latest headline is from a handful of days ago: “In recent months the Kremlin leader has lost 8 kilograms, thinness and persistent cough are considered by the elites as a sign of the rapid deterioration of the leader’s health.” A shot without sources broadcast by a titled Telegram channel General SVR and promptly picked up by various Italian media.
From The weather to Free, the “information professionals” return to speculate on the health conditions of the Russian leader without evidence, documents or official confirmation: “More clearly, Vladimir Putin would have cancer,” he writes The weather which concludes: “Putin will end up with his nerves in pieces”. Also Free it is usual to resume the same tips: “Vladimir Putin’s health conditions” are deteriorating drastically “.
The weather he is not new to reviving this kind of gossip; already in August he reported equally dramatic and arbitrary indiscretions: “Le anticancer treatments Vladimir Putin’s were prescribed by Israeli doctors, prepared and purchased in Israel […] in the past all attempts to ‘import substitute drugs’ have led to a deterioration in health and those experiments have been abandoned ”. In May, The newspaper instead published the news that Putin would have been operated on “to remove a cancer” and for this reason his apparitions from 17 to 19 May would have been pre-recorded. The source? Always the channel General SVR.
Notwithstanding that we cannot know Putin’s actual health conditions, rumors have been circulating for years about alleged diseases that the Russian leader is suffering from, ranging from cancer to psychiatric pathologies. We are faced with a form of character assassinationto which the Western press has been subjecting the Russian leader (as well as every other enemy of the West) for years, publishing unfounded scoops, gossip, buffaloes grotesques and innuendo of all kinds.
In June 2021 the British tabloid The Sun citing Muscovite sources, had published the newsthen picked up by Handle and by many other Italian media, according to which Putin would have the Parkinson’s disease and it would be close to resignation. The news was denied and branded as a “total nonsense” by the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, who had made it clear that Putin is in “perfect health” and “absolutely” does not think about resigning. Also according to the British tabloid, some observers of the Kremlin would have noticed in a movie that Putin would show some symptoms attributable to Parkinson’s. Hence the doubt about neurodegenerative disease, also taken up by many Italian newspapers, from Corriere della Sera to the messengerand TV like La7.
Not enough and remote diagnosis of cancer and Parkinson’s, at the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the mass media, in their Manichean, propagandistic and superficial narrative of the war, decided to psychiatrize the Russian president to outline the profile of a psychopath: from the diagnosis of “Malignant narcissism” and paranoia of Recalculate to the evergreen “folly” dictated by mania for omnipotence.
In the ballet of hypotheses, there was not even the theory that the Russian president is suffering from Long Covid. The science journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Laurie Garrett argues that Putin could be “Unable to reason, perhaps due to the effects of the Long Covid”. It was to revive these hypotheses Council on Foreign Relationsof which Garrett is a part: the CFR he stressed that in recent months Putin has appeared “dull” and “out of phase” in his behavior and statements. Garrett also talks about “delirium of omnipotence»: The Russian president would show the symptoms of omnipotence syndrome typically associated with the loss of contact with reality and the inability to weigh the risks. And to explain this state of madness, Covid-19 was brought up. According to the reporter, the so-called brain fog – a sort of brain fog associated with the effects of Long Covid – could have compromised his cognitive functions.
The security analyst at the Beck Institute of a different mind, Michael A. Horowitzaccording to which Putin would be playing crazy without being crazy: “There is a “crazy theory”In international relations, which is basically that of appearing intentionally irrational, in order to force the opponent to be cautious. If this is what Putin is doing, then he is terrifyingly good at it ».
[a cura di Enrica Perucchietti]