VLADIMIR Putin is becoming increasingly isolated, paranoid and lost touch with the outside world – even has sends Russians to die in the mud in Ukraine.
Russian defector Gleb Karakulov, who served on Putin’s security services, offered a chilling insight into Vlad’s mind this week – describing the Russian president as living in a “cocoon”.
APVladimir Putin’s world is these days believed to be one of isolation[/caption]
Karakulov described how Vlad is sped between his various “bunker” residences on a network of armoured trains – almost totally detached from the world outside.
“He is pathologically afraid for his life. He surrounds himself with an impenetrable barrier of quarantines and an information vacuum,” the defector told the Dossier Centre.
It was a unique and rare first hand insight into the deeply twisted mindset of a world leader who has had near absolute power for more than 20 years.
And it is further paints the picture of Putin as an acutely strange individual who appears to be living in a nightmare of his own making, where very little is true and everyone is out to get him.
Vlad’s inner circle is small – with him having very few close confidantes, beyond figures like his mistress Alina Kabaeva and his stooge Dmitry Medvedev.
Putin, 70, is believed to be obsessed with his own death – both from possible illness or from the knife of assassins.
One of the long-reported linchpins of Putin’s personality has been his deep-seated fear that he could be “killed like Gaddafi” – with the Libyan tyrant being overthrown and murdered in 2011.
Vlad is claimed to have obsessively watched mobile phone footage of him being pulled out of a storm drain before being manhandled by an angry crowd, sodomised with a bayonet, and shot dead.
It appears to have been a turning point for Putin – fuelling the deep-seated paranoia of the man raised in the Soviet Union and the KGB.
Karakulov that Putin’s fear of death is so severe that he has replica offices dotted across Russia.
Vlad wants to make sure his enemies can never know his position – making sure they can never come for him.
And subsequently, there are various unverified claims that during the war Putin has used body doubles to appear in certain locations.
Ukrainian officials have claimed Vlad is using three such men to carry out duties on his behalf – but no one knows for sure.
Putin himself has previously been forced to deny that he uses body doubles – but did claim he was once offered them.
Karakulov explained there is a virtual “state-within-a-state” that looks after Putin.
And this inner bubble just further deepens his isolation.
Putin’s fear of death apparently was worsened by the Covid pandemic – and the bodyguard says his lifestyle has altered significantly since 2020.
Vlad was once eager to be seen as the world’s number one strongman and to trot the world stage.
He was famously pictured hunting, riding horses, playing with his dogs, swimming with dolphins, playing hockey, doing judo and various other macho stunts.
And yet now, when he is seen – Vlad is normally sat behind a screen or keeps several dozen feet away from his colleagues.
Vlad is a far cry from the horse-riding despot of the 00sGETTY
Putin’s inner circle is small – including figures such as his lover Alina Kabaeva
Pictures released this week showed the absurd moment he welcomed a new selection of ambassadors to Moscow.
And yet in the pictures, he stood around 60 feet away from them.
His fear of death seems to have morphed into a germaphobia – especially when it comes to Covid.
Karakulov claimed Putin makes staff quarantine for two weeks before meetings as the tyrant quakes in fear of disease.
Putin once snapped at a coughing minister during a meeting, raging “getting the flu is self-harm. You could have prevented it, but you didn’t”.
American psychologist Frederick Coolidge previously described Putin’s increased isolationism, health fears and paranoia as typical of tyrants – comparing him to Soviet ruler Joseph Stalin.
“[Autocrats] tend to have an excessive fear of death or infection,” he told the Voice of America in 2020.
“They fear losing control, they fear losing everything and have a need to control everything.
“And they are not always rational about it.”
And meanwhile, it’s been reported that Putin has increasingly questioned how “loyal” his government is over the war in Ukraine.
Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported that week that some 33,000 Russian officials have been weeded out due to “opposition sentiments”.
Most of these cases were down to “offenses” involving social media since the start of the war last February.
And hardline figures in Russia are also gaining prominence thanks to the war, such as Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Putin is understood to distrust his once close ally Prigozhin – and may now be attempting to set them up to fail in Ukraine.
And this storm of paranoia and infighting is on top of rumours Putin is batting several health issues.
Speculation is fuelled by his often bloated look and twitching feet – with long-running rumours he is suffering from Parkinson’s or even cancer.
But as with much information about Putin – most of this is down to rumours and speculation.
And his increasing isolation is making these reports harder to verify.
Karakulov provided the world with some of the best insight yet into Vlad.
“Our president has lost touch with the world,” he said.
He has been living in an information cocoon for the past couple of years, spending most of his time in his residences, which the media very fittingly call bunkers.
“He is pathologically afraid for his life. He surrounds himself with an impenetrable barrier of quarantines and an information vacuum.
“He only values his own life and the lives of his family and friends.”
Vlad hasn’t made the gains he or his commanders expected and Russia has found itself bogged down in a long, brutal war as humiliating defeats pile up.
The tyrant now seemingly has his future tied to his success or failure in Ukraine.
Putin foolishly believed his forces would be welcomed into Ukraine as liberators when he invaded last February.
But instead, the initial attack ended in a disaster which saw his forces devastated and thrown back to Russia.
Kyiv continues to call for Western support to help them defeat Putin.
The world is now awaiting to see if Ukraine will mount its long expected counter offensive, with much of the fiercest fighting currently centred around the city of Bakhmut.
Putin welcomes Russia’s new ambassadors from 60ft away due to ‘sanitary restrictions’East2West