- A former Kremlin guard said in an interview that Russian President Vladimir Putin is fearful of catching COVID-19, spends much of his time in private “bunkers,” and does not use technology such as a mobile phone or the internet.
- He also said Putin often travels by private train and brings a private booth equipped with a telephone on trips to other countries to ensure communications go unmonitored.
- The former guard called Putin a “war criminal” and urged fellow Kremlin officers to stop following orders in protest of the war in Ukraine.
Aformer Kremlin guard who worked directly for Russian President Vladimir Putin called his former boss a “war criminal” while sharing secrets about the leader in an interview published Tuesday.
Gleb Karakulov served as a captain in the Federal Guard Service (FSO) before fleeing Russia last year to Istanbul because of his objections to the war in Ukraine. He was a member of the FSO since 2009—working as an engineer and reaching the rank of captain—and served as one of Putin’s protection officers.
Karakulov told the investigative website Dossier Center that he was responsible for encrypting direct communications to Putin and accompanied the Russian leader on more than 180 trips during his 13 years in the FSO. The Dossier Center reported that it verified the authenticity of Karakulov’s various documents and called him “the highest-ranking intelligence officer in Russia’s recent history to defect to the West.” The statements made by Karakulov about Putin could not be independently verified by Newsweek.
Among the claims Karakulov made to the Dossier Center is that Putin remains extremely fearful of catching COVID-19 and fears assassination attempts. As a result, Karakulov said Putin spends much of his time away from people in his private residences, which are referred to as his “bunkers.”
About Putin still operating in a state of COVID lockdown, Karakulov said Russia still has “a self-isolating president.”
“We have to observe a strict quarantine for two weeks before any event, even those lasting 15 to 20 minutes,” he said. “There is a pool of employees who have been cleared—who underwent this two-week quarantine. They are [considered] ‘clean’ and can work in the same room as Putin.”
Karakulov said Putin is averse to technology and that in all his years of service in the FSO, he never saw Putin use a mobile phone. The former guard also said Putin does not use the internet.
“He only receives information from his closest circle, which means that he lives in an information vacuum,” Karakulov said.
As for long-distance transportation, Karakulov said Putin often uses his personal train. He said the president prefers this mode of travel “[b]ecause it is less conspicuous.”
“Planes show up on certain services/networks,” Karakulov said. “[Trains] cannot be tracked on any information resource. It’s done for stealth purposes.”
During trips to other countries, Putin brings along a “telephone booth,” according to Karakulov. The former engineer described the booth as a “bulky” cube that’s about 2.5 meters in height. Inside, it contains a workstation and telephone where Putin can allegedly communicate without concern about being overheard by foreign intelligence agents.
Karakulov said Putin insisted that his guards set up communications for him in a bomb shelter during a recent trip to Kazakhstan and maintains bunker-like conditions at his residences. Offices at his residences are designed in an identical fashion to conceal his exact location, according to Karakulov.
Along with sharing secrets about the president, Karakulov addressed a rumor that’s been widely reported by media outlets since the February 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine: that Putin is suffering from a serious illness. Karakulov said he does not believe the rumors, adding that the Russian leader has regular medical checkups.
“He is in better health than many other people his age,” Karakulov said.
Karakulov also called on fellow FSO officers to stop following orders in protest of the war in Ukraine, which he characterized as a lawless attack on a sovereign state.
“Our president has become a war criminal,” Karakulov said.
Putin and Kremlin officials have cited numerous reasons to justify the invasion of Ukraine, including preventing NATO expansion and fighting back against an unfounded claim that neo-Nazi sentiment is spreading in Ukraine.
In his February State of the Nation address, Putin said Western countries had drawn Russia and Ukraine into conflict.
“We aren’t fighting the Ukrainian people,” Putin said in the address, adding that Ukraine “has become [a] hostage of the Kyiv regime and its Western masters, which have effectively occupied the country.”
Newsweek reached out to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs via email for comment.
“Our president has become a war criminal,”
He’s been one for some time now. But, now at least, it’s official.
“Among the claims Karakulov made to the Dossier Center is that Putin remains extremely fearful of catching COVID-19 and fears assassination attempts. As a result, Karakulov said Putin spends much of his time away from people in his private residences, which are referred to as his “bunkers.””
All these measure to just survive another day must be nerve-wracking. But, in the end, the grim reaper will find this little turd too, no matter where he hides.
Its hard to tell from Shorty the Shirtless if he is just belching propaganda or if his bubble is really that small that he believes all these conspiracy theories, like the USA effectively occupies Ukraine.
We know he has a twisted view of history that is incompatible with established history known all over the globe and no Moskali dare tell him the truth because they would get 9th floor balcony flying lessons.
So how would someone actually get the truth to someone like this? Do psychopaths even recognize the truth? Its time to put him and his regime on a Terrorist watch and kill list. Yes I know its against US law to assassinate nation leaders but is it really assassination now that he is a wanted war criminal?
Not in my book. Killing the rat is disposing of not only vermin, but a serious war criminal. Thus, it would be justice served.
I think all desperate dicktators live in a sort of bubble. They are surrounded only by yes-puppets and ass-givers. Bad news is as detested as a toothache.