Controversial world leader plans to walk away from politics
Vladimir Putin is planning to step down next year as speculation swirls in Russia that the longtime president may have Parkinson's disease, a report said Thursday.
Moscow political scientist Valery Solovei told The Sunthat the Russian strongman's 37-year-old girlfriend, Alina Kabaeva, and his two daughters are pushing him to leave office.
"There is a family, it has a great influence on him. He intends to make public his handover plans in January," Professor Solovei told the news outlet.
Prof Solovei also suggested Mr Putin may be suffering from Parkinson's as the president has been seen recently exhibiting symptoms of the disease.
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Mr Putin recently appeared to be in agony while appearing to constantly shift his legs, according to footage reviewed by an observer, The Sun reported.
Reviewed footage also appeared to show his fingers twitching as he held a cup that possibly contained medicine, the report said.
The president's staff have repeatedly played down rumours that he is paving the way for a political exit.
Speculation of Putin's possible departure comes as Russian politicians are considering legislation proposed by the president that would grant ex-presidents lifetime immunity from criminal prosecution.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as Putin plans to step down next year