- Putin was frequently visited by a vast team of doctors, Russian investigative news outlet Proekt said.
- There has been much speculation about the Russian president’s health.
- Putin bathes in blood extracts from severed deer antlers as a form of alternative medicine, the report says.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was visited by a thyroid cancer doctor 35 times, new investigation claims.
Russian investigative news outlet Proekt revealed that a team of doctors frequently visited the 69-year-old Russian president at his residences or accompanied him on trips amid growing questions about his health.
Yevgeny Selivanov, an oncology surgeon, specializing in thyroid cancer, flew to visit Putin at his Black Sea residence 35 times and spent 166 days in his presence, the report said.
Two otolaryngologists, or ear, nose, and throat specialists, Igor Esakov and Alexei Shcheglov, visited the Russian president even more frequently.
Alexei Shcheglov flew to see Putin 59 times and spent a total of 282 days with him between 2016 and 2020, according to the report.
Thyroid diseases, including cancer, are typically first diagnosed by an otolaryngologist, after which an oncologist and a surgeon become involved in the treatment, a doctor told Proekt.
The outlet determined which doctors spent time with Putin at his residence in Sochi by examining hotel accommodation contracts published on the government procurement website.
The dates that doctors stayed at hotels in Sochi coincided with Putin’s official visits to the city or periods where he mysteriously disappeared from the public eye, the report said.
The average number of medics in Putin’s entourage rose from five in 2016 and 2017 to nine in 2019, the report said.
Other team members included anesthetists, a neurosurgeon, an infectious diseases specialist, and an intensive care doctor.
On some occasions, the number of medics attending to Putin in Sochi increased when Putin was likely undergoing surgery or a serious procedure, likely on his back, said the outlet.
Putin has also taken up bathing in blood extract from severed deer antlers as a form of alternative medicine, the report said.
The Russian president took up this alternative therapy at the recommendation of Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu. The deer blood is believed to improve the cardiovascular system and rejuvenate the skin.
The horns are cut from the deer while they are alive, and animal rights activists have compared it to pulling out a person’s fingernails.
There has been much speculation about the Russian president’s health for years.
Putin has long cultivated a macho strongman image, and the Kremlin has remained secretive about his possible health issues.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Putin went into strict self-isolation and was later pictured conducting meetings with foreign leaders while sitting on one end of a very long table.
Putin was not seen in public for the month of September 2021. It is believed in medical circles that he underwent a complicated procedure related to thyroid disease, the outlet reported.
The Russian president’s face has appeared noticeably bloated in recent photos, sparking rumors that he is using steroids, often used to treat thyroid cancer.
The Kremlin has previously rejected questions about Putin’s health, with a spokesman insisting in 2020 that his health was “excellent.”