International

Putin to undergo cancer surgery, hand over power to ex-spy chief: Report

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to undergo cancer surgery and will also hand over power temporarily to a hardline former federal police chief, The New York Post reported, citing a Telegram channel.

Russian President Vladimir Putin might undergo cancer surgery and will temporarily hand over power to hardline Security Council head and former Federal Security Service (FSB) commander Nikolai Patrushev, claimed international media reports.

The anticipated surgery and recovery are likely to incapacitate the President for “a short time.”

Last month, Putin was seen tightly gripping a desk during his meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. The incident has now raised questions about the President’s health.

According to a report by The New York Post, doctors have reportedly suggested Putin undergo the operation. The report cited a Telegram channel purportedly run by a former Russian Foreign Intelligence Service lieutenant general.

In recent times, Putin has reportedly exhibited ‘uncharacteristically fidgety behaviour in public’ and a ‘sickly appearance’, following which the President has been rumoured to suffer from cancer and a host of other serious maladies, including Parkinson’s disease.

“We know that Putin signalled to Patrushev that he considers him to be practically his only trusted ally and friend in the government,” the post claimed. “Additionally, the president promised that if his health takes a turn for the worse, actual control of the country will temporarily pass into Patrushev’s hands.”

Patrushev is the secretary of Russia’s Security Council, which is an influential body that answers directly to Putin and issues guidance on military and security issues within Russia. Most of the council’s power is vested in Patrushev, who is widely seen as a staunch Putin ally.

“Patrushev is an outright villain. He is no better than Vladimir Putin. Moreover, he is a more cunning and, I would say, more insidious person than Vladimir Putin. If he comes to power, Russians’ problems will only multiply,” the owner of the Telegram channel which claimed Putin’s cancer surgery said.

Putin is unlikely to agree to hand over power for an extended period of time, said reports, adding that control of the country will likely be in Patrushev’s hands for no more than two to three days.