The unique approach of Vladimir Putin – dangling left arm and right arm almost motionless – was due to intensive training followed by the KGB and not an early sign of Parkinson’s disease, ensures a study published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
The British medical journal publishes traditionally for Christmas, a special edition with serious studies of unusual and unexpected subjects.
A team of neurologists Portugal, Italy and the Netherlands, movement disorders specialists, was this time addressed Russian President Dmitry Medvedev his prime minister and three other officials, intrigued by their special way walk with unilateral arm swing.
“The first thing that comes to mind is Parkinson’s disease” since the asymmetric arm swing is one of its precursors, say the doctors who have scrutinized the Russian leadership videos on YouTube.
However, they dismiss this hypothesis in the absence of other symptoms such as shaky hands or low limb coordination.
Videos in support, they fall instead the dexterity of Vladimir Putin, a black belt in judo.
So they make a different assumption: their posture was modeled on the KGB or intensive military training. The result is this unique way to get around they called “the gunslinger approach”.
To support their way, they state having obtained “a training manual of the old KGB.” They describe how the participants should maintain their right hand stuck to their chest while walking to power, face the enemy, draw their weapon in a split second.
“We found other examples of minimalist rocking a weapons training related to arms: the cowboys in movies about the Wild West often have a reduced movement of their right arm,” they add.
This study is part of the debate and speculation about Putin’s approach, says Bastiaan Bloem, medical center Radboud University in the Netherlands, who led the research.
“This is an unusual study, but it delivers a very serious message” in terms of neurological observation, he told AFP.
“His abnormal gait had already been noticed. What we say, very conservatively, that are new hypotheses “to explain it, he adds.
Others had considered fetal distress, polio during childhood, a stroke or paralysis caused by a forceps birth.
But these assumptions were rejected Putin protester strength and mobility in his shoulder and his right arm. There are also no signs of a degenerative disease, as would be the case of Parkinson’s, argues Mr. Bloem.
The researchers concede that if Medvedev is not absolutely clear that it did not receive military training.
“His gunslinger approach” would be a phenomenon of mimicry. It is common, according to them, that we want to imitate the leader. Medvedev would thus have modeled their behavior on that of his superior.
They conclude that neurologists must now take into account “the gunslinger approach” as well as Parkinson’s disease or a disorder affecting the shoulder to avoid asking misdiagnosis.