Putin reportedly begins wearing body armor in public

Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Photo credit: Getty Images

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has started wearing a bulletproof vest when attending outdoor public events.
  • An official told The Moscow Times that Putin’s security team had recommended the move.
  • “God protects the vigilant,” one official said.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has started wearing a bulletproof vest at outdoor public events, The Moscow Times reported Tuesday, citing officials who have seen Putin at those events.

“On May 9 of this year, President Putin clearly wore a bulletproof vest during the parade,” the official said of Putin’s attendance at this year’s Moscow Victory Day parade, “and we think that precaution was necessary.”

Putin, who was elected to a fifth term as Russian president in March, was seen greeting generals at the annual military parade in a live broadcast on May 9. The 71-year-old Putin’s movements appear tense in the video, and he can be seen adjusting his clothing around his right shoulder several times.

“Putin’s upper body physique is unnatural, his shoulders look rather broad and squared off and his back and shoulder blades are missing,” security consultant Jade Miller told The Moscow Times.

“In my professional opinion, President Putin is wearing some form of bulletproof gear while taking part in the parade,” she said.

According to a Russian newspaper, Putin will start wearing a bulletproof vest starting in 2023. An official told The Moscow Times that the move was recommended by Putin’s security team, the Presidential Security Service.

“God protects the vigilant,” another official said.

A Russian Foreign Ministry representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent by Business Insider outside of regular working hours.

This is not the first time reports have emerged that Putin fears he may be assassinated.

In September, Vitaly Brizaty, Putin’s former bodyguard, said in an interview with Russian independent media outlet TV Rain that Putin used to hire armed divers to search for potential assassins along his private beaches.

Brizati, who fled to Ecuador after Russia invaded Ukraine, said Putin was so paranoid that he wouldn’t let anyone operate the washing machine except one of his bodyguards.

But Putin may not even fully trust his bodyguards, said Brizati, who said the Russian leader frequently gives false information to his security services about his whereabouts.

“You can see how much he fears for his life,” Brisati said.

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