Russian President Vladimir Putin seen in Moscow on May 26, 2022. MIKHAIL METZEL/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images
- 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 discovering information about his health.
- The claim was made in a report from Russia experts Regis Gente and Mikhail Rubin.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
President Vladimir Putin’s bodyguards collect his poop when he travels abroad, according to a report from two investigative journalists.
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, responsibility for collecting Putin’s faeces lies with the Federal Protection Service (FSO), 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 specialised packet so that it can be returned to Russia in a special suitcase.
Such excrement collections happened during Putin’s visit to France on May 29, 2017, and also during his October 2019 trip to Saudi Arabia, the reporters wrote.
A video from another of Putin’s trips, to France in 2019, showed six suited men in Putin’s entourage accompanying him to a bathroom. One of them was seen exiting the bathroom holding a small briefcase, though it is unclear what it contains.
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 citing a further source who said Putin had carried out the practice for years.
In recent months 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 cast doubt on those reports, noting that there has yet to be any credible evidence that Putin is unwell.
There is at least one example of poop-interception being used as a real intelligence technique, by the Soviet Union against China.
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 analysing 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 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 analyse his DNA, Reuters reported.