Putin bathes in deer antler extract and regularly sees cancer doctor, report claims

Investigation by independent Russian journalists casts doubts over president’s health

<p>An investigation claims Vladimir Putin is frequently surrounded by cancer and thyroid specialists</p>

An investigation claims Vladimir Putin is frequently surrounded by cancer and thyroid specialists

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Vladimir Putin has taken dozens of trips in the company of a cancer specialist, according to a report, which also claimed the Russian president attempts to boost his health by bathing in deer antlers.

According to the report by Russian investigative news outlet Proekt, Mr Putin has become increasingly preoccupied with his health in recent years and takes frequent trips to the resort city of Sochi in the company of doctors from Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital.

Citing contracts between the hospital and hotels where its staff members stayed in Sochi, the investigation claims the average number of medics in Mr Putin’s entourage rose from five in 2016 and 2017 to nine in 2019.

Among the Russian president’s most frequent medical attendants is oncologist-surgeon Evgeny Selivanov, who flew to Mr Putin 35 times and spent a total of 166 days in his presence between 2016 and 2020, according to the report.

The only two doctors reported to have spent more time in Mr Putin’s company are two otolaryngologists – ear, nose and throat specialists – who Proekt notes are typically the first to diagnose thyroid diseases and cancers.

Referring to the 16-day period of self-isolation Mr Putin underwent last September, when he cast his ballot remotely in the Duma election, the outlet cited a source as saying that, in medical circles, Mr Putin is believed to have undergone a complicated procedure related to some kind of thyroid disease.

Also known as Agentstvo, Proekt became the first Russian news site to be declared an “undesirable organisation” by Moscow last July, when a number of its journalists were also declared “foreign agents”.

A journalist with independent Russian news site Meduza, which was declared a “foreign agent” last April and had its website blocked in Russia last month over its reporting of the war in Ukraine, also contributed to the report, which claims that Mr Putin has also sought treatments of a less scientific nature.

The Russian president was reportedly introduced to the idea of bathing in an extract made from deer antlers by Sergei Shogu, his current defence minister, who has been the subject of rumours in recent weeks following a period out of public view.

Back in the mid-2000s, when Mr Shoigu was head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, he reportedly brought Mr Putin to Altai, where an extract made from the antlers of the red deer residing there are claimed to have a therapeutic effect.

The Russian president is claimed to have immersed himself in a bathtub of this extract on multiple occasions, prompting antler baths to become popular among the Russian elites.

The extract of pantocrine supposedly improves the cardiovascular system and rejuvenates the skin, while it has also been claimed to boost “male potency”.

However Proekt reported that animal rights activists compare the process of cutting off the deers’ living antlers – which occurs in spring, when the antlers are not yet ossified and are still full of blood – to the pain of pulling out a human’s fingernails.

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