February 26, 2024

President Putin’s Gunslinger’s gait: A new gait in Medicine

  • December 27, 2015
  • 3 min read
President Putin’s Gunslinger’s gait: A new gait in Medicine

President Putin has been a media sensation for a while now and also an ideal for many. Repeatedly chosen as the most powerful man in the World, his attire, dress-up , the macho image and speeches often including gross satire and fearlessness has made him a times Character.

What people has always noticed and wondered about Putin was his asymmetrical swinging of arms during stance , a strange gait but not making him look weird though. During his ceremonial walks he is seen to move his right arm less while properly swinging his left hand. People made various speculations but he is also seen to use his right hand well for other purposes- like lifting the wine glass.

putin gunslinger gait

Experts and Analysts made a speculation of Parkinson disease- A preclinical state. Well in history the German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler was suspected to have Parkinson disease.

The Article on British Medical Journal  states ‘This preclinical phase includes a reduced arm swing on one side. Indeed, an asymmetrically reduced arm swing can present in otherwise clinically intact subjects with a predisposition to later develop Parkinson’s disease. ” This  observations raised a debate among the analyst to whether President Putin might possibly be in an early stage of Parkinson’s disease. But while investigating on the likely causes, similar gait was seen in more than just President Putin, more of the Top Russian official who were formerly KGB trained had the gait.


The list of top officials with 

  1. Dmitry Medvedev Prime Minisiter of Russia ( No official KGB training )
  2. Anatoly Serdyukov, Former Defence minister
  3. Sergei Ivanov, Former Defence minister
  4. Anatoly Sidorov, Commander Western district

In Parkisonism , the preclinical stage presents with non-motor signs such as REM sleep behaviour disorder or constipation, rather than motor signs. And same gait pattern in top 5 Russian officials virtually rules out the parkisonism but rather some sort of behavioral adaptation.

  1. As Putin wears large watches on right hand, the less swing might have been response to prevent winding mechanism.
  2. A behavioural adaptation resulting from military or intelligence training. A supportive argument is the fact that trainees undergoing KGB training are taught to keep their right hand close to the chest even while walking, allowing them to quickly draw a gun when faced with a foe. It is conceivable that other forms of weaponry training are associated with a similar behavioural gait adaptation. Indeed, we found other examples of a reduced arm swing related to weaponry training: cowboys depicted in movies of the “Wild West” often have a reduced right arm swing. This motivated us to introduce the term “gunslinger’s gait” to label this new gait phenotype.

The KGB officials kept right arm close to the body so that the gun could be drawn at earliest in case of danger. This led to a Gunslinger’s gait, which the Neurologist are now debating that it should be kept as a differential diagnosis. “We recommend that neurologists, in particular those working in Russia, include ‘gunslinger’s gait’ in their differential diagnosis of an asymmetrically reduced arm swing, along with other known causes such as Parkinson’s disease and shoulder pathology.”



Gunslinger’s gait”: a new cause of unilaterally reduced arm swing - BMJ 2015


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