If Vladimir Putin has ever heard the golden rule about doing “unto others as you would have done to you,” he has every reason to be paranoid as hell that someone could be planning to poison him—and he apparently is.
On Wednesday, Inside Edition played a clip of the Russian president addressing keeping up the tough guy ruse while addressing the nation, declaring any citizens who opposed his invasion of Ukraine as “scum” and “traitors.” But when the cameras are off, reports suggest that Putin isn’t so self-assured.
IE spoke with The Daily Beast contributing editor A. Craig Copetas, who recently wrote about the Russian leader’s growing distrust of, well, everyone. According to Copetas’ sources, he’s been told that Putin’s paranoia runs deep enough that he’s having people test his food to see if it’s poisoned. And that just last month, he felt compelled to replace a whopping 1,000 members of his personal staff to further ensure his own safety. (We can’t imagine Putin’s royal taster was super disappointed when he lost that job.)
“The assessment from the intelligence community is that he’s scared,” Copetas said, noting that the Russians’ preferred method of assassination is via poison—a fact Putin knows all too well. In 2016, it was determined that the Russian president himself likely greenlit the 2006 murder of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KBG agent-turned-defector who died after drinking tea that was spiked with polonium-210, a radioactive substance. Putin was also suspected of being behind the 2018 poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, and his daughter, while they were in England. He was also linked to the botched attempt to poison opposition leader Alexei Navalny (who is the subject of a new movie that premiered at Sundance earlier this year).
Putin’s own poisoning track record is likely to make him even more paranoid, says Copetas. “This will frighten Putin even more, because as an ex-[KGB] agent, he knows it can be done.”
Guess this explains the ridiculous long tables!
Kill radius of a hand grenade 35 feet.
Putin’s table is 40 feet.
Any questions? pic.twitter.com/2Thvv2V3oD
— Senator James Stewart (@Jimmi_THE_greek) March 6, 2022
(Via Inside Edition)