Russian president Vladimir Putin will resign early next year as concerns surrounding his health increase, according to Moscow sources.
Rumours surrounding his resignation have been circulating since the last few days, and now it has been reported he could be quitting as early as January amid fears he has Parkinson’s disease.
The 68-year-old is feared to have the disease according to observers, who have noticed symptoms linked to the condition.
In recent footage of the leader sources claim his legs seem shaky, while he clutches the armrest of a chair.
The president’s alleged lover and ex-gymnast Alina Kabaeva, 37, is also rumoured to have been advising him to step down along with his daughters Maria Vorontsova , 35, Katerina Tikhonova, 34.
According to watchers, he was also seen twitching while holding a pen, reports The Sun.
Earlier this week speculation surrounding his resignation grew after a new law was rushed through the Russian parliament, which would make Putin a senator for life if he leaves the country’s highest office.
The legislation, which has been introduced by Mr Putin himself would guarantee him a number of official perks including lifelong legal immunity.
Moscow political scientist Professor Valery Solovei has added to the speculation of his resignation after suggesting Mr Putin may have Parkinson’s.
Speaking about Mr Putin’s family pressurising him to step down from the role, Mr Solovei said: “There is a family, it has a great influence on him. He intends to make public his handover plans in January,” reports The Sun.
However, there have been no hints from the President’s staff about the exit.
Discussing the new legislation, his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov said: “This is the practice that is being applied in many countries of the world, and it is quite justified.
“This is not innovation from the point of view of international practice.”
Though state-run RT media forecast the move will be seen “as a sign that the groundwork is being laid for an eventual transition of power in Russia”.
Putin is already the longest-serving Kremlin leader since Stalin.
He took over the Russian presidency from Boris Yeltsin on the last day of 1999 – and has been head of state ever since apart from four years as prime minister between 2008-12 when his close ally Dmitry Medvedev occupied the top office.