Vladimir Putin is planning to step down early next year amid fears that he may be suffering from Parkinson's disease, a new report claims.
The U.K.'s Sun reported on Thursday that the Russian president has been showing possible symptoms of the progressive brain disorder, which can lead to difficulty walking and talking as it reaches later stages. The newspaper noted that some close to the Kremlin believe that Putin has begun displaying some of these symptoms, and is planning to move out of the spotlight and spend more time with his rumored partner, former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabaeva. The news outlet claimed that she, along with the president's two adult daughters, had been pressuring him to step down.
As The Inquisitr reported, Putin's rumored relationship has made headlines in recent months amid rumors that Kabaeva had disappeared from the public eye after reportedly giving birth to the couple's child more than a year ago.
Valery Solovei, a political scientist from Moscow, said that Putin's family has great influence over him, and the Russian leader plans to make his transition public early next year. He has given no public indication that he plans to move out of power, however, and even made maneuvers that would allow him to remain the county's leader for close to two decades more.
As Reuters reported back in March, Putin had been required by the country's constitution to step down in 2024 after serving two straight terms and four overall, but threw his support behind a proposal that would change the constitution by formally resetting his tally of presidential terms to zero. That would allow him to stay in power through 2036, the outlet added. While speaking in favor of the proposal, Putin cited former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who served four terms at a time of upheaval during the Great Depression and World War II.
The report added that speculation about Putin's future had already been growing after he introduced legislation that guaranteed him legal immunity from prosecution and gave him state-sponsored benefits for life. Last week, new laws were also drafted that would make him a senator-for-life after he resigns, the Sun added.
But the Sun noted that Putin's health could be a more pressing concern, as he is reportedly in considerable pain.
"Observers who studied recent footage of Putin noted his legs appeared to be in constant motion and he looked to be in pain while clutching the armrest of a chair," the report claimed. "His fingers are also seen to be twitching as he held a pen and gripped a cup believed to contain a cocktail of painkillers."