Putin to undergo cancer treatment, transfer power to Patrushev: Reports
Russian President Vladimir Putin is likely to undergo cancer surgery soon and temporarily transfer power to the country's Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev. Doctors have told Putin he must undergo surgery, said an unverified New York Post report, citing a Telegram channel run by an ex-lieutenant general of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. Patrushev is considered Putin's only trusted ally in the government.
Why does this story matter?
The development came as the Russia-Ukraine war entered its 69th day on Tuesday with no sign of a ceasefire. If reports are true, Putin's move to transfer power to Patrushev at this crucial time is significant. Putin has been in power for almost all of the 21st century. He's credited with bringing Russia out of the economic distress following the Soviet Union's 1991 collapse.
Putin to be incapacitated for 'short time'
Putin is likely to be incapacitated for "a short time" as a result of the planned surgery and recovery, claimed the NYP report. It also referred to Putin's alleged "sickly appearance and uncharacteristically fidgety behavior in public" in recent times. The report further claimed that the Russian President has been suffering from cancer and a slew of other serious ailments, including Parkinson's disease.
'Have seen nothing that could corroborate it': Pentagon
However, the US Pentagon has stated latest reports on Putin couldn't be verified. Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said on Monday, "I have seen nothing that could help us corroborate that." Concerns have been raised about Putin's health in recent weeks, especially after he was seen gripping a desk during a meeting with Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu last month.
Control will temporarily pass into Patrushev's hands: Report
Citing a Telegram post, NYP reported Putin even had a two-hour "heart-to-heart" discussion with Patrushev a few days ago. The post alleged, "Putin signaled to Patrushev that he considers him to be practically his only trusted ally and friend in the government." Further, Putin has reportedly promised that if his health worsens, "actual control of the country will temporarily pass into Patrushev's hands."
Who is Nikolai Patrushev?
Patrushev, a staunch Putin supporter, was born in June 1951 and has a strong military background. Like Putin, Patrushev was a Russian intelligence agent, initially with the Soviet KGB and later with the Russian FSB. Reports say, during the Nazi siege, his parents lost everything and moved to Russia's Saint Petersburg. His childhood and previous experiences fueled his support for waging war against Ukraine.
Patrushev to control Russia for only 2-3 days
"Patrushev is an outright villain," the owner of the aforementioned Telegram channel was quoted as saying by NYP. "He is no better than Vladimir Putin. Moreover, he is a more cunning...more insidious person... If he comes to power, Russians' problems will only multiply," the owner added. According to NYP, Patrushev will likely have control over Russia for not more than two to three days.Share this timeline