In a groundbreaking development, former Russian Federal Guard Service Captain Gleb Karakulov's defection in October 2022 has unveiled a profound insight into Russian President Vladimir Putin's private world. Karakulov, who served over thirteen years in the elite unit responsible for safeguarding Russia's top officials, including Putin himself, has now emerged as a pivotal figure in understanding the inner workings of the Kremlin.
The Associated Press journalist Erika Kinetz highlights that Karakulov's tenure by Putin's side from 2009 to 2022, involving over 180 foreign trips, has positioned him uniquely to observe Putin's personal and professional life.
This proximity to the Russian leader has rendered Karakulov's defection exceptionally significant, considering his role in the Presidential Communications Directorate within the Federal Guard Service, primarily focused on securing Putin's communications.
Putin's Isolation Revealed
Karakulov's extensive interview with the Dossier Center, an investigative project initiated by exiled businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky, further sheds light on Putin's psyche. In a detailed ten-hour conversation, Karakulov revealed startling facets of Putin's life, corroborated by external databases and open-source information, affirming his credibility.
One of the most striking revelations involves Putin's intense fear of COVID-19, leading to stringent two-week quarantines for anyone accompanying him on foreign visits, regardless of the duration. This precautionary measure underlines Putin's self-imposed isolation, as Karakulov notes the Russian President's absence of mobile phone usage and internet access, creating an 'information vacuum' around him.
Putin's Fear and Secrecy
Karakulov's insights paint a picture of a leader increasingly detached from the outside world, preferring the seclusion of his residences, which Karakulov aptly describes as 'bunkers.' This isolation, coupled with a deep-seated fear for his safety, has seemingly driven Putin to prioritize his life and those of his inner circle above all else.
Moreover, Karakulov disclosed Putin's apprehension of potential assassination attempts and his preference for using an armored train for long-distance travel, considering it less conspicuous. This aspect of Putin's travel habits aligns with his cautious approach to personal security.
Putin's Health and Isolation
The Associated Press corroborates Karakulov's status as a wanted man by Russia's Interior Ministry, adding a layer of authenticity to his statements. Intriguingly, while Karakulov dispels rumors of Putin's illness, he acknowledges that any health issues the Russian President might have are likely age-related and not severe.
In his extensive service, Karakulov recalls only one instance when Putin canceled a foreign trip due to illness, underscoring the Russian leader's robust constitution. Erika Kinetz aptly sums up the situation, suggesting that while Karakulov's revelations about Putin's fear for his life and disconnection from the outside world are not entirely surprising, they align with other accounts portraying the Russian President as a leader who has transitioned from charismatic to increasingly isolated.
This narrative presents a complex portrait of Putin, shaped by his unique circumstances and the pressures of his position.