Russia denies homophobe-in-chief Vladimir Putin is stepping down early next year amid reports he has Parkinson’s disease

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Homophobe-in-chief and president of Russia Vladimir Putin could step down next year, reports have claimed, amid rumours that he has Parkinson’s disease.

Speculation has been mounting that Russian leader Vladimir Putin has Parkinson’s disease, as footage shows his left arm swinging considerably more than his right when walking, which can be an early symptom.

Despite the recent constitutional referendum which allowed him to extend his rule beyond the 2024 cut-off, Putin’s partner Alina Kabaeva, 37, and his daughters Maria Vorontsova , 35, Katerina Tikhonova, 34, have reportedly been putting pressure on him to step down.

Moscow political scientist Valery Solovei told The Sun: “There is a family, it has a great influence on him. He intends to make public his handover plans in January.”

The unconfirmed rumours that Putin is planning to step down have been fuelled by the introduction of two bills in Russian parliament providing protections for former presidents. 

One, introduced this week, would give Putin lifetime immunity from criminal prosecution were he to leave office. Currently, Russian presidents are only exempt from prosecution while they remain in power.

Another, introduced on Saturday (31 October), would give former presidents a guaranteed lifetime seat as a senator in Russia’s Federation Council.

But Putin’s spokesperson denied that the senator-for-life bill was an indication that the president would soon step down.

Dmitry Peskov told The Sun: “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.”

Putin has consistently taken aim at the country’s LGBT+ community, stirring up hatred among his most loyal supporters, members of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In 2013, he oversaw the introduction of the country’s infamous “gay propaganda” law, which bans so-called “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” among minors.

Human rights monitors say that the law has been widely exploited in Russia to clamp down on freedom of expression for LGBT+ people.

During his campaign to extend his presidency beyond 2024, Putin relied heavily on taking away LGBT+ rights, from effectively erasing trans people from existence to a constitutional ban on marriage equality.