5 reasons why Putin’s 71st birthday could be last – from cancer to assassination

It’s no secret that Vladimir Putin has a few things going against him these days and as he celebrates his 71st birthday today (October 7) the question is, could it be his last?

A lot of the despotic Russian president’s activity in recent years hasn’t been conducive to the well-being of an elderly man. Making it to 71 is no mean feat with many people who seemed invincible at the height of their powers passing away at this age.

Johnny Cash, opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, Princess Margaret, Yves Saint Laurent, Lou Reed, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, Enid Blyton and Prince Philip II of Spain all died at the age of 71. Crucially though, none of these people started a war against a highly motivated, NATO-backed neighbour, or systematically killed their top generals one by one.

READ MORE: Crackpot Putin prepares Russia for WW3 with terrifying nuclear drill

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The point is that lots of people die age 71, and a lot of these people don’t have as many things trying to kill them as Vladimir Putin. So, as the brutal autocrat revels in birthday fun today, The Daily Star takes a look at the things trying their level best to make sure he doesn’t make it to 72.


If Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has achieved one thing, it has been to unify a population of roughly 40 million people in its hatred of the Russian President. Shoulder-to-shoulder in a bid to force Russian forces from their land, the people of Ukraine have more reason than most to want Putin dead.

In August, the New York Times reported that around 70,000 Ukrainian troops are feared to have died in the fighting along with around 10,000 civilians. Ukraine now is dictating the tempo of the fighting since it launched acounter-offensiveof its own earlier this year, while increasing numbers of drones and bombs have been creeping over the border and into Russian territory.

Reports of drone attacks hitting Russia, including the Kremlin, have circled while the Crimea Bridge has been targeted repeatedly and, in early summer, heavily armed Ukraine-affiliated forces ran riot in the Belgorod region with tanks.

The inner circle

The danger isn’t only from distant lands for Putin, with threats much closer to home also on the list of things that could bring an end to his tyrannical reign.Reports circulated in Julythat his inner circle were tiring of his approach to running the country with Russian military blogger Igor Girkin saying at the time he was on thin ice following the failed Wagner coup.

That coup raised questions about the unity and stability in the Kremlin. CIA Moscow station boss Daniel Hoffman said he Junehe suspected efforts were being made to oust Putin, with a “hammer blow” said to have been in store for Putin from his top brass.

“These guys that are going to do it are going to be so secret about it so that Putin doesn’t find them and kill them first,” Hoffman said. “It’ll happen all of a sudden. And he’ll be dead.”


It seems the threats from inside aren’t lost on Putin either. Over the last month, a list as long as the dictator's arm has been made comprising the names of dead generals, oligarchs and members of Russian upper echelons.

Reports have circulated this year thatPutin is terrified to leave Russiaover supposed attempts on his life being made. This is only made worse by an arrest warrant having been issued against him by the International Criminal Court.

As drone strikes pile into his country, some allegedly aiming for him, and more and more generals getting the axe over fears of betrayal it seems Putin’s paranoia has reached new heights. In the summer, an unnamed Kremlin insider told independent Russian outlet Verstka that the dictatorial leader is absolutely terrified of everything that’s going on: “He has no sense of security.”

In fact, this is said to be so extreme that some reports claim he only moves around the country inspecial armoured trains.


When it comes to paranoia, no group is likely to keep Vlad up at night quite like the Wagner Group. This is especially true after allegedly Putin decided to kill off its leader Yevgeny Prigozhin. However, Putin has since claimed the late Wagner boss caused his own plane to crash, but that is unlikely to satisfy some of his loyal mercenaries.

The private army is made up of hardened and experienced fighters, many of which have seen action around the world, and are said to have been hugely loyal to Prigozhin. He is now dead, and with almost every finger in the world apart from Putin’s pointing at the Russian leader. It's safe to assume that there are more than a handful of mercenary killers who wouldn’t mind giving the president a taste of his own medicine.

Earlier this year, Wagner launched their bizarre June coup attempt against the Kremlin which, along with repeated berating of the Russian top brass, is thought to have ultimately been what got Prigozhin killed. Some in Wagner would likely argue, however, that these things only happened because the group had already been wronged by the government.

Former British Army officerColonel Hamish de Bretton-GordontoldThe Sun: "Putin has signed his death warrant here. He has upset the two most powerful groups in Russia – the oligarchs who keep him in power and the most effective fighting force Putin has ever put in the field, the Wagner Group."

Ill health

If all of that doesn’t get him, Putin still has Mother Nature to worry about. Reports and rumours of the autocrat's awful vitality have been easy to come by over the past two years.

Whispers of cancer, body doubles, shaking hands and gammy legs have been recurring themes, and while there is a chance this could all be a blend of propaganda and wishful thinking, nothing has been definitively ruled out.

In September, reports came in of theformer Prime Minister trembling. While in April, one particularly brutal rumour claimed thathe had been forced to wear adult diapersas he had been forced to move onto stronger cancer medication.

Allegedly run by a Kremlin insider, The General SVR Telegram channel said: "He was wearing only a wet white T-shirt, which he had probably tried to take off, and a black sock on his right leg.

"Next to him was a torn diaper, which Putin has been using all the time lately.”

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