I am getting a deluge of email asking me about Putin’s health. Like I am his personal doctor of something :-)

Well, of course I am not.  And to the great disappointment to those who think that I am on the Kremlin’s payroll, I am not.  I am not even linked to the Russian security services.  So, alas, I have no special information about Putin.

However, I did check a few things.

Moscow appears calm. I even checked a few well-placed webcams.  Not a single semi-credible Russian sources confirms Putin’s death or overthrow.  Not a single contact of mine is sounding the alarm.  No less importantly, the rumors range from death-by-cancer “caused by plastic surgery” to palace coup supported by the Orthodox Church, to Shoigu taking power.  When I read that nonsense I am not impressed. One Swiss website mentions that Putin’s alleged sweetheart – Alina Kabaeva – is about to deliver his baby.  Maybe, I don’t know.

What I do know is that a coup would be quasi-impossible to pull off, and if that happened 85% plus of the Russian population would be up in arms and *extremely* mad.  So if taking power in Russia is extremely hard, keeping it would be even harder.  There is no way the Russians today would accept a junta like the one in Kiev, not even a “patriotic” one.

I have been wrong so often that I am afraid of being too categorical, but I have to be honest above all else and this is why I will say that I personally rate the possibility of a coup against Putin as exactly *zero*.  I sure hope I am not wrong this time around…

Putin sick?  Yes, maybe.  With the flu.  Or even pneumonia.  Exhaustion is a terrible thing for the immune system.  He might have had some minor surgery of some kind.  I wouldn’t know.  But dead?  I doubt it.  Of course, this is not impossible (it never is), but I see NO reason to suspect that this has happened.

Busy with the Ukrainian crisis?  Yes, very possible.  Kiev has just basically reneged on all of the Minsk 2 Agreement and Russia has to prepare for the worst.

How about “busy with the crisis AND sick with the flu”?  That seems the best explanation to me.

I have no crystal ball, no special connection to the Kremlin, and no way to prove a negative. But at least so far, I see no evidence of something serious happening with Putin.

Let’s take a deep breath and wait.  I believe that Putin is due to make an appearance on Monday.  Let’s see if he does, and if he does not, how Peskov will explain it.


The Saker

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