Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, predicted Thursday that Russian President Vladimir Putin will no longer be the leader of his country by 2023 due to health issues.
“I think he’ll be gone by 2023, but probably into the sanatorium,” Dearlove said during the One Decision podcast, adding that Putin, who is 69 years old, will not emerge as the “leader of Russia” anymore after coming out of the medical facility. “That’s a way to sort of move things on without a coup.”
During his interview, Dearlove also predicted that the Russian regime might “break apart” over the next 12 to 18 months due to the West’s sanctions imposed on the country, the conflict in Ukraine, and Russia’s current military performance.
Dearlove’s comments come amid ongoing speculation about Putin’s health, even though the Kremlin has not publicly commented about it since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.
Earlier this week, U.S. film director Oliver Stone said that the Russian president has already struggled with and overcome cancer during the time in which the filmmaker focused his work on the Russian president.
“Remember this, Mr. Putin has had this cancer and I think he’s licked it,” Stone said without specifying the type of cancer he had.
The American director, who is known for famous films including JFK, Scarface, and Platoon, had multiple interviews with Putin from 2015 to 2017 on a variety of topics, the British radio station LBC reported Saturday. However, Stone has not met Putin for three years, according to TDPel Media.
Christopher Steele, a former intelligence official in the U.K., recently made similar comments, saying that Putin left meetings to receive medical treatments.
“Meetings of the security council that are shown to supposedly last for a whole hour are actually broken up into several sections,” Steele, who served in the MI6 intelligence office, said during an interview with LBC Radio. “[Putin] goes out and receives some kind of medical treatment between those sections.”
He added that Putin is “constantly accompanied around the place by a team of doctors,” however, he didn’t explain the basis of his speculation, but claimed “it’s certainly having a very serious impact on the governance of Russia at the moment.”
“There’s increasing disarray in the Kremlin and chaos, in fact, that there’s no clear political leadership coming from Putin, who is increasingly ill,” he said.
Meanwhile, Visegrád 24 News posted a video on Twitter last month speculating that the Russian president might have Parkinson’s Disease.
“This is probably the clearest video of something being wrong with Putin’s health. Look at his leg & hand tremors! Any doctor out there willing to weigh in? Parkinson?” Visegrád 24 News tweeted.
One video also showed Putin gripping a table during a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, prompting social media users to question his health.
Newsweek reached out to the Russian foreign affairs ministry for comment.