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Birthday boy Putin may not make 71 as health fears and death threats grow

Vladimir Putin is celebrating his 70th birthday today (Friday, October 7) – but one expert believes this may be his last.

The Russian despot has long been rumoured to be in poor health, with whispers that he is suffering from cancer or Parkinson's disease regularly making headlines.

Professor Anthony Glees, an expert on European affairs from the University of Buckingham, told the Sun he could soon be ousted from power – and may not even live to see his next birthday.

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"These things can often happen very quickly," he said.

Just last month, Putin reportedly survived an assassination attempt after a loud bang was heard as something hit the front-left wheel of his limousine.

The dictator was unharmed and his luxury car was driven to safety, but since the attack there have been multiple arrests by his security service.

Other members of Putin's personal security entourage are thought to have disappeared amid claims that information about his whereabouts was leaked, the Telegram channel General SVR claimed.

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The warmonger is rumoured to be petrified of the thought of being overthrown and killed, and has spent time obsessing over the death of Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

But with the people of Russia, and even the elites, expressing their discontent at Putin's partial mobilisation launched on September 21, it seems the dictator isn't helping himself when it comes to keeping himself in power.

Professor Glees said the West needs to do "all we can" to encourage Putin's downfall at the hand of the Russian elite, adding that he was incredibly dangerous.

He continued: "Bribe them with the sunlit uplands of a better tomorrow in which we buy their gas and oil again; offer them gold Rolexes and luxury yachts, whatever, but first they need to kill Putin.

"Beneath his mask, I don't believe Putin the man ever changed.

"He is today exactly what he has always been – a KGB man through and through."

And it's not just assassination attempts threatening the dictator's livelihood – Putin has been rumoured to be in ill health for a long time, with doctors noticing his bloated appearance and odd behaviours.

One expert even claimed that the "dying" dictator was considering using nuclear weapons to "take the world with him".

Political scientist Valery Solovey, former professor at Moscow's Institute of International Relations, said: "Putin cannot allow himself to be defeated. He has two tools left in his sleeve – mobilisation, which he is using [and] nuclear weapons," adding that his "very poor psychological health" "is such that he has a very strong desire to take the world with him."

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Even if Putin were to physically survive his own war in Ukraine, retired general and former deputy supreme commander of Nato in Europe, Sir Richard Shirreff, doesn't believe Putin would politically survive a catastrophic military collapse in Ukraine.

And with Russian conscripts fleeing the country, setting themselves on fire, and drunkenly destroying Russian property, it doesn't seem that the partial mobilisation has been the cure-all Putin may have hoped.

"A collapse of the Russian army might be followed by a collapse of the Putin regime," Sir Richard said.

"It is going to shake the foundations of the Russian Federation and have huge impacts, but it's going to be a very dangerous situation.

"I would go further and say we in the west should be prepared for the possible break up of the Russian Federation in the next five years."

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