Amid widespread speculation about the health of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, reports are emerging that he takes regular baths in a controversial liquid extracted from deer antlers that is alleged to “increase male potency”.
Reports also claim the despot is being accompanied by a cancer specialist almost everywhere he goes.
According to a report from Russian news site Proekt, Putin has become increasingly concerned about his health as he approaches 70.
He’s known to make frequent visits to Sochi, a popular Black Sea resort, where he is attended by a team of doctors from Moscow’s Central Clinical Hospital.
One of them is cancer specialist Evgeny Selivanov, who has reportedly spent over 166 days with the leader over the four years to 2020.
But alongside respected medical experts, Putin is exploring less scientific methods to preserve his health.
According to Russian news site Meduza, he’s been taking baths in an extract made from the antlers of young red deer – a remedy supposed to boost the cardiovascular system and “improve male potency”.
One Russian farm – which exports antlers for use in Chinese traditional medicine, claims: "Extract from red deer antlers acts as a strong tonic, especially for men's potency.
"It strengthens the body's bones, muscles, teeth, eyesight and hearing, cures pleurisy, pneumonia, asthma, joint pain, osteoporosis, and problems with the spine."
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The antler bath craze has become increasingly popular among the Russian elite after it was popularised by now-disgraced Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu
However animal rights activists say that using deers’ antlers in this way is cruel. The antlers are sawn off the living animals in Spring, before they have fully hardened, and the process is said to be incredibly painful for the deer, like having your fingernails ton out by the roots.
In November 2020 political analyst Valery Solovei wrote that Putin had been undergoing treatment for both cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
Solovei said that the Russian leader had two serious health concerns: "One is of psycho-neurological nature, the other is a cancer problem.
"If anyone is interested in the exact diagnosis, I'm not a doctor, and I have no ethical right to reveal these problems.
"The second diagnosis is a lot, lot more dangerous than the first-named diagnosis as Parkinson’s does not threaten physical state, but just limits public appearances.
"But there is a fatal diagnosis”.
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