Proekt has released an investigation into the health of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which reveals he regularly takes reindeer antlers baths and has his own medical team accompanying him on every trip.
Some of his health problems are connected to his hobby of horse-riding. According to an acquaintance of Putin and an employee of his administration, an unsuccessful fall from the saddle left him «unable to get back on his feet,» after which he had to undergo a lengthy treatment. On National Unity Day on November 4, 2012, state television channels aired footage of Putin and Patriarch Kirill laying flowers at the foot of the monument to Minin and Pozharsky in the Red Square. The TV broadcast barely showed the president, as he was limping badly. After that, the Kremlin began canceling Putin's official flights one after another and shortening the time of the events in which he was supposed to participate.
Also in the mid-noughties, with the help of Sergei Shoigu, Putin became addicted to antler baths. Antlers are horns of Altai deer, which are believed to possess healing properties according to folk medicine. Shoigu, then head of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, brought the president to Altai and convinced him of the benefits of the procedure, after which the president visited Altai several more times. Following in Putin's footsteps, Sergei Sobyanin, mayor of Moscow, Alexei Miller, head of Gazprom, and his entourage picked up the hobby as well. According to Proekt's source, containers with antler extract are brought to Moscow from the Altai Mountains on a business jet at least once a year.
The third part of the investigation is devoted to the doctors who accompany Putin on all his trips. It is said that the president is a regular patient at the Central Clinical Hospital (CCB) in Kuntsevo, Moscow: he is met by hospital management on arrival, and then handed over to the doctors who are assigned to the president. One of his long-time doctors was Dmitry Verbovoy, apparently a resuscitation specialist (he is mentioned on the Internet as the author of a manual on emergency care for acute illnesses, injuries, and poisonings).
Over time, doctors from the Central Clinical Hospital began visiting the president on their own: flying to his residence and accompanying him on trips. For example, in 2017, when Putin was injured after a hockey match in Sochi, a certain Konstantin Arkadyevich Sim, an orthopedic traumatologist and the president's regular doctor, checked into the Rus sanatorium, an establishment within the Presidential Administration system, located not far from Putin's Sochi residence. This became known from open sources.
Actually, all the members of Putin's entourage in Sochi, including doctors, are assigned living quarters in four places to stay, and contracts between them and the Central Clinical Hospital are published on the government procurements website along with acceptance certificates for the services provided. It is clear from those documents that doctors like Sim flew specifically to see Putin, since the dates match either with the president's official visits to Sochi or with the periods of his disappearance. From the same documents, it is clear that back in 2016-17 the president was regularly accompanied by an average of five doctors in Sochi. Sometimes their number increased: on November 25, 2016, the president met with actor Steven Segal at the Kremlin, and then disappeared until December 1. At that time, the Kremlin website published pre-recorded messages about the phone calls, while 12 doctors checked in one after another at the Rus sanatorium in Sochi. Among them were operating neurosurgeons and rehabilitators, which suggests that Putin was undergoing surgery.
Putin's most frequent companions were otolaryngologists Alexei Shcheglov and Igor Yesakov, as well as surgeon Yevgeny Selivanov. Shcheglov flew to Sochi 59 times in four years and stayed with Putin for 282 days. Selivanov made 35 flights and stayed for 166 days. Selivanov is a surgeon who specializes in oncology and who defended a dissertation entitled »Peculiarities of diagnosis and surgical treatment of elderly and senile thyroid cancer patients».
Putin publicly demonstrated his interest in the problem of thyroid cancer. In July 2020, he met with the head of the National Medical Research Center for Endocrinology, Ivan Dedov, who told him about the high incidence of thyroid cancer.
Putin's attitude toward his own health during the coronavirus is also known. During pandemic peaks, the president held most of his meetings via video link, and allowed few visitors to himself, and only after a two-week quarantine and a fecal test.