A Different Kind of Bloodbath

Editor of Proekt, Roman Badanin, alleges that Vladimir Putin is very sick

Fox News’ Amy Kellogg interviews Roman Badanin where he alleges Vladimir’s Putin recent activity, most notably travelling with a large retinue of doctors, indicates the Russian President could be very sick.

Their digging up of dirt earned them the label “undesirable organization.” This suggests they are exposing uncomfortable truths. It means their investigative team is now working in exile. Roman Badanin, editor of the journal “Proekt” has a contract at Stanford University for the year. There are worse places to find yourself stuck far from home. But Badanin can’t go home, or he says, he’ll get thrown in jail.  Between obligations at Stanford and working on exposes about the Russian government, he says he is “crowdfunding” like crazy to keep his scattered team of reporters afloat.

“Proekt’s latest investigation found that Russian President Putin is possibly quite sick–at least quite concerned about his health and perhaps pre-occupied with aging.  A detail from the report that jumps out is that a thyroid cancer specialist allegedly made 35 trips to see the Russian president, spending 166 days with him, over a recent four-year period.  And this doctor is not the only one traveling to Putin’s retreats away from the Kremlin and during periods when he has mysteriously been out of public view for relatively lengthy periods.

Russian President Putin can put rumors about his health to rest anytime, by simply stepping out in public.
(AP)

“Russian propaganda creates the image of a 100 percent healthy sport-addicted president. And all of a sudden we discovered that he’s literally encircled by doctors,” Roman Badanin told Fox News.  “In total, we have 60 doctors who traveled with him on different occasions every time, for example, when he travels to Sochi (Putin’s preferred Black Sea resort) they travel. On the same route, on the same dates. So again, after the investigation was published, we received some, of course unofficial, confirmation that at least we were right in saying that Putin is really worried about his health.” Badanin and colleagues went about their investigation by finding contracts of these doctors who are affiliated with a public hospital and matching some of their travels to those of Putin–for example, when he went to his Sochi retreat.  The contracts would show these doctors to be staying in a hotel near Putin’s place.  Rather surprisingly the paper trail is public.  Tracking movement this way had them employing a similar technique to what opposition leader Alexei Navalny and the Bellingcat investigative unit used to track down Navalny’s stalkers and poisoners.

Russian President Vladimir Putin enters the hall to address Tokyo 2020 Paralympic medalists.
(Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

Among the other doctors apparently in the president’s orbit–an expert in resuscitation, someone who has reportedly penned a manual about dealing with acute illnesses, injuries and poisonings, and also neurologists. Badanin says the thyroid cancer specialist’s alleged relationship with Putin does not necessarily mean the president has cancer, or that cancer.  The only thing certain is that the particular doctor, Yevgeny Selivanov, got his PhD in thyroid cancer according to Badanin.  He may focus on other areas now.  There have long been rumors about Putin’s health.  Each time he disappears from sight, tongues wag.  His suddenly smooth faced appearance sparked speculation about botox use some years back.    Recent puffiness, some say, suggests he is on heavy medication and that has led to all sorts of theories about what could be ailing him.

Another angle of the “Proekt” story is Putin’s supposed fascination with alternative medicine. “Sometime during his second term, Putin decided to live forever and to rule forever, because one day he realized that his health is the priority number one. Among other things, he tried untraditional medicine,” Badanin said.   “We found that he was really interested in so-called blood baths done in the Altai region. They take baths with the boiled blood of the deer actually. And we know for sure Putin at least once tried these baths.” Badanin said he spoke to someone who did the same treatment on the same day.  And he explained the blood is drained from the young, soft, sprouting antlers of deer. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin toasts during reception for military servicemen who took part in Syrian campaign, at Grand Kremlin Palace on December 28, 2017 in Moscow.
(Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

There have clearly been a few sport injuries along the way and Badanin says Putin suffers from back problems as a result.  But the Kremlin will attest to the Russian President’s good health.  And will no doubt dismiss the deer blood baths as the fakest of fake news.  It is hard to imagine someone who sits so far away from visitors at his now famous long table plunking himself in a tub of animal blood.  But Badanin insists he’s got the scoop on good sourcing and apparently much of the Russian elite, starting with the Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, have taken the plunge.  

Badanin does admit that in the context of the past, Putin on the eve of turning 70, has outdone those who came before him. “He’s way healthier than all the predecessors of him, including Yeltsin, who resigned at the same age, or Brezhnev, who was almost ousted at the same age, and Andropov even died when he was 70,” Badanin says.  “But again, he’s ruling for 23 years.  I believe that this time affected him a lot.  It’s not an easy task to run such a huge country for 23 years. And of course, I believe he has a lot of psychological and health issues.”

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