Shocking photos show how Putin went from judo strongman to weak and bloated ‘cancer victim’ in just three years

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VLADIMIR Putin has gone from a macho strongman to a bloated butcher who struggles to walk in the space of just three years, footage reveals.

Since becoming Russia’s president in 2000, Vlad has taken pride in his image as a strongman, having photographed himself on horseback bare-chested, taking part in judo demonstrations, stalking tigers and training.

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2008: Vladimir Putin checks a satellite collar on a Siberian tigerCredit: AFP
2009: The iconic image of Putin riding a shirtless horse became an enduring image

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2009: The iconic image of Putin riding a shirtless horse became an enduring imageCredit: AFP
2011: Vlad, then Prime Minister, takes a ride with the Russian biker gang

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2011: Vlad, then Prime Minister, takes a ride with the Russian biker gang “Night Wolves”Credit: Getty – Pool

But over the past three years, he’s become unrecognizable, his previously gaunt face becoming puffy and his swagger giving way to a weak, slumped stance.

Many photos have been taken over the years for propaganda purposes, including a 2008 photo of him checking a satellite tracker on a Siberian tiger.

One of the most enduring images demonstrating Putin’s desperation to be seen as a badass is a series of photos from 2009 showing him topless on a horse during a fishing expedition.

He was also careful to surround himself with other “tough men” for photo ops, such as in 2011 when he went for a ride with the notorious Russian biker gang “Night Wolves”.

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Putin will be

Other photos released by Russian state-controlled media over the years show the president working out at a home gym at his summer residence in Sochi and taking part in judo demonstrations.

In 2017, he still appeared relatively young as he posed for a selfie with model and Miss Russia winner Violetta Igoshina.

Putin’s seemingly ageless appearance has sparked years of rumors that the Russian leader has undergone cosmetic surgery on a regular basis.

In 2017, Canadian facial plastic surgeon Philip Solomon told the National Post: “I guess he’s had fillers and Botox, and that’s evident by the softness around his forehead and the crow’s feet around his eyes and volume along the cheeks.”

Another cosmetic surgeon, Stephen Mulholland, told the publication he believed Putin received three key procedures.

These include injectable dermal fillers, Botox and laser skin resurfacing.

Such procedures require regular maintenance, and Putin is expected to return to the practice for additional injections about twice a year.

He added that the Russian president appeared to have undergone a significant round of treatment between 2012 and 2014, around the time he divorced his first wife, Lyudmila.

The most striking change in 69-year-old Putin’s face is the way he has filled out, giving him a much rounder appearance.

In just three years, Putin’s appearance has changed dramatically, and where once the Russian leader seemed to age backwards, his face now looks puffy while his demeanor has also changed.

Photos released by the Kremlin in 2020 of his end-of-year speech show a dramatically different Putin than a year earlier, with his face much puffier.

Gone is the confident, swaggering world statesman, and in his place is a slouched, weak tyrant.

He is afraid of aging

Ben JudahVladimir Putin’s biographer

While last year he took part in an ice hockey match in St. Petersburg, looking older than ever.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, his appearance has come under much more scrutiny, amid rumors that he is undergoing cancer treatment.

In a recent video, Putin appeared to vomit and sputter as he gripped the table for support during talks with his ally Sergey Chemezov.

While an ex-British spy claimed he was “riddled with cancer”, Putin is constantly surrounded by doctors.

Rumors have been circulating for some time that President Putin is suffering from a serious illness, and in March the Kremlin was even forced to issue a statement, insisting that he was in good health.

His behavior was also increasingly erratic in the weeks leading up to the invasion of Ukraine.

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The theories about Putin’s alleged fillers go beyond mere vanity and to the heart of his own paranoid psychology, New York surgeon Dr. David Hidalgo told Vanity Fair in 2014.

He said he believed Putin would never consent to submission.

In 2010, he appeared during trade talks in kyiv with what appeared to be bruises on his cheekbones and under his eyes, an apparent sign of filler injections.

At the time, his spokesmen denied the allegations, blaming the alleged black eye on unfortunate lighting and Putin’s busy travel schedule.

A 2015 documentary, ‘Putin the Man’, claimed the Russian leader was “terrified of getting old”.

In the program broadcast on the German channel ZDF, Putin’s biographer, Ben Judah, claimed that he was “afraid of physical decay, he is afraid of growing old”.

There are rumors that Putin also used steroids, perhaps to maintain his badass image.

As a side effect of his alleged steroid use, Putin also became subject to unusual outbursts of anger as the planned rapid invasion of Ukraine turned into a bloody and drawn-out war.

He denounced Ukraine’s leaders as “drug addicts” and “Nazis”, while raising the specter of an apocalyptic nuclear war, seemingly unconcerned about the consequences for his own country.

2015: Fitness fanatic Putin trains in his home gym at his summer residence in Sochi

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2015: Fitness fanatic Putin trains in his home gym at his summer residence in SochiCredit: AFP
2017: Miss Russia winner, model Violetta Igoshina, poses for a selfie with Putin

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2017: Miss Russia winner, model Violetta Igoshina, poses for a selfie with PutinCredit: Instagram
2019: Putin was well enough to participate in training with the Russian national judo team

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2019: Putin was well enough to participate in training with the Russian national judo teamCredit: AFP
2020: Putin looks noticeably more pumped up a year later

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2020: Putin looks noticeably more pumped up a year laterCredit: AP
2021: The Russian president is almost unrecognizable in a photo of an ice hockey match

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2021: The Russian president is almost unrecognizable in a photo of an ice hockey matchCredit: Getty
2022: Putin at the Victory Day parade in Moscow earlier this month

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2022: Putin at the Victory Day parade in Moscow earlier this monthCredit: EPA

Writing in Politico in February, Paul Taylor said: “Perhaps it’s time to revisit our assumption that the Russian president is a cold-blooded statesman making logical, albeit deeply undesirable, decisions.”

Taylor also noted that earlier in February Putin’s mindset was challenged when he forced visiting French and German leaders to sit at the other end of a 13-person table. feet.

It was described as a Covid-19 precaution, but that didn’t stop him from embracing his ally Alexander Lukashenko, president of Belarus.

Fiona Hill, a former member of the US National Security Council who specializes in Russian and European affairs, also commented on Putin’s appearance during a meeting with St Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov last month.

“Putin doesn’t look so good, his face is rather puffy,” she said. “We know he complained of having back problems.

“Even if it’s not anything worse than that, he may be on high doses of steroids, or there may be something else.”

She added: “He may feel like time is running out – after all, it’s been 22 years and the likelihood of a Russian leader leaving voluntarily or through an election after that kind of time is pretty slim.

“Most leaders either leave as Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko thought he might leave, following massive protests, or they die in office.

“The only other person who has been Russia’s leader in modern times longer than Putin is Stalin, and Stalin died in office.”

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