Putin's bodyguards collect his poop on trips abroad and take it back to Russia with them, report says
- Putin's bodyguards collect his poop when he travels and take it back to
Russia, a report says.
- It appears to be an attempt to stop foreign spies from discovering information about his health.
The claim was made by Regis Gente, the author of two books on Russia, and Mikhail Rubin, who has covered Russia for 13 years, in a Thursday report for the French news magazine Paris Match.
According to the article, the responsibility for collecting Putin's feces lies with the Federal Protection Service, the department tasked with protecting Putin and other government officials.
According to Gente and Rubin, each time Putin needs to go, an FSO agent places his excrement in a specialized packet so that it can be returned to Russia in a suitcase.
Such excrement collections happened during Putin's visit to France on May 29, 2017, and during his October 2019 trip to Saudi Arabia, the reporters wrote.
A video, taken during a Putin trip to France in 2019, showed six suited men in Putin's entourage accompanying him into a bathroom. One of them was seen exiting the bathroom holding a small briefcase, though it is unclear what it contained.
The tactic appears to be an effort to reduce the risk of foreign powers discovering information about Putin's health or predilection for future conditions that could be contained in the 69-year-old's DNA.
The journalist Farida Rustamova appeared to corroborate the report, saying on Twitter that she was aware of a similar incident in Vienna, and cited another source who said Putin's bodyguards have carried out the practice for years.
Amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, speculation has grown that Putin, who has recently missed a number of routine events, is unwell, and several reports have claimed that he is being treated for a variety of serious conditions.
Experts speaking to Insider have cast doubt on those reports, noting that there has yet to be any credible evidence that Putin is unwell.
There are at least two examples of poop interception being used as an intelligence technique, according to sources.
In 2016, a former Soviet agent said he discovered evidence that Joseph Stalin tried to spy on China's Chairman Mao and other top officials by analyzing their excrement.
In another instance of poop espionage, British spies sifted through soiled toilet paper used by Soviet troops in East Germany during the Cold War, according to the British military expert Tony Geraghty.
This, he said, was because the Soviets were not given toilet paper and often resorted to using military documents or personal letters instead.
"Sifting through the detritus of military exercises, including human excreta and worse, was a valuable technique which sometimes produced gems of intelligence," Geraghty wrote.
In early February, French President Emmanuel Macron refused a request from the Kremlin to take a Russian COVID-19 test ahead of an in-person meeting with Putin over fears it could be used to analyze his DNA, Reuters reported.
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