Russian President Vladmir Putin will announce plans to step down from his post in January, the U.S. affiliate of a British tabloid reported Thursday citing unidentified ''Moscow sources.''
The U.S. Sun said those who follow the activities in the Kremlin have noticed what appears to be physical symptoms of the degenerative neurological disorder Parkinson's disease in the 68-year-old Putin.
The Sun claims the former officer of the Soviet Union's KGB secret police has been pressed by his girlfriend, 37-year-old Uzbek-born and two-time Olympic champion rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, to resign. The tabloid also said that his 34- and 35-year-old daughters want their father to step down.
The website claims recent video of Putin showed his legs twitching and he appeared to be in pain while clutching the arm of a chair. His hands also were seen twitching as he gripped a pen and a cup of what was said to be painkillers.
While the Kremlin has repeatedly downplayed reports of an impending exit, Moscow political scientist Professor Valery Solovei told the Sun that the leverage of Putin's family is the motivation behind his departure.
"There is a family, it has a great influence on him,'' Solovei said. ''He intends to make public his handover plans in January.''
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