NEWSWATCH RFE/RL: “New Study Links Putin’s ‘Gunslinger’s Gait’ To KGB Training” – with video

Putin Descending a Staircase

RFE/RL and AFP report on theories that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s unusual gait, including a tendency to keep his right arm closer to his torso while in motion, might be linked to KGB training that valued the ability to draw a weapon quickly.

A team of European neurologists says … Putin walks with a peculiar “gunslinger’s gait” — a reduced swing in his right arm — possibly related to weapons training he received in the Soviet KGB. … Putin has shown in public appearances a ‘clearly reduced right-sided arm swing,’ the type of asymmetrical arm movement that can be an early sign of Parkinson’s disease. … Putin has displayed no other tell-tale signs of the disease.

Citing a KGB training manual … the researchers posit that his style of walking is instead linked to training that Putin underwent ….

‘According to this manual, KGB operatives were instructed to keep their weapon in their right hand close to their chest and to move forward with one side, usually the left, presumably allowing subjects to draw the gun as quickly as possible when confronted with a foe’ …


Some other Russian political and security-related figures have a similar gait, including Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, who is hypothesized to be receiving training to be imitative of Putin.

They found the same characteristic walk in … Medvedev, … former Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Sergei Ivanov, and in senior Russian military commander Anatoly Sidorov. … Ivanov is a former KGB officer who served in Europe…. Serdyukov and Sidorov both received military training… . Medvedev … has no clear ties to the KGB and did not serve in the military, though he underwent brief reservist training …. Since Putin handpicked him to serve as president from 2008-12 … Medvedev’s body language has often resembled that of his mentor, as has the cadence of his speech.

Click here for RFE/RL: “New Study Links Putin’s ‘Gunslinger’s Gait’ To KGB Training”