Experts discover new gait pattern among top Russian officials

December 14, 2015
Experts discover new gait pattern among top Russian officials

Experts have discovered a new gait pattern among several well-known top Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The authors term this "gunslinger's gait" because it may be triggered by KGB or other forms of weaponry training.

The gait features a consistently reduced right-sided arm swing, highlighted in rich and compelling video material that accompanies the paper (see links below).

Writing in the Christmas issue of The BMJ, they say this distinct walk could be mistaken for early Parkinson's disease and they advise doctors to keep this in mind when assessing patients.

Movement disorders enthusiasts Professor Bas Bloem and colleagues often scrutinize the way people walk - and were struck to find several YouTube videos of Russia's President Vladimir Putin, showing a clearly reduced right-sided arm swing on a series of different occasions.

Reduced arm swing can be a sign of early Parkinson's disease, raising the question whether Putin - and the other Russian top officials - might all be in an early phase of this disease too.

Searching for other possible explanations, the team encountered a training manual of the former Russian KGB, giving the following instruction on how operatives should move in the field: "When moving, it is absolutely necessary to keep your weapon against the chest or in the right hand. Moving forward should be done with one side, usually the left, turned somewhat in the direction of movement."

The researchers wondered whether this could explain President Putin's gait, since he had received KGB training earlier in life.

If this were true, then it would be reasonable to expect a similar gait "abnormality" in other Russian officials who might have received similar instructions during weaponry training by the KGB or by other military or intelligence agencies.

They therefore performed a YouTube search for videos of other Russian officials, with surprising results.

An asymmetrically reduced arm swing was identified in several highly ranked Russian officials, including not only President Putin, but also current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, two former Ministers of Defence (Anatoly Serdyukov, and Sergei Ivanov) and Anatoly Sidorov, a highly ranked military commander.

Rather than interpreting this gait pattern as being pathological, "we feel that there is another - and perhaps more plausible - explanation, namely a behavioural adaptation resulting from military or intelligence training," write the authors.

Indeed, they found other examples of a reduced arm swing related to weaponry training. For example, cowboys of the Wild West, depicted in movies, also frequently have a reduced arm swing.

"We propose that this new gait pattern, which we term "gunslinger's gait", may result from a behavioural adaptation, possibly triggered by KGB or other forms of weaponry training where trainees are taught to keep their right hand close to the chest while walking, allowing them to quickly draw a gun when faced with a foe," they explain.

"This should be included in the differential diagnosis of a unilaterally reduced arm swing," they conclude.

Explore further: Increased arm swing asymmetry is early sign of Parkinson's disease

More information: Paper: "Gunslinger's gait": a new cause of unilaterally reduced arm swing, www.bmj.com/cgi/doi/10.1136/bmj.h6141

Video links to top Russian officials walking:

Video 1: bcove.me/6dnnnqzp
Video 2: bcove.me/k8xj9xvy
Video 3: bcove.me/mtskr9uu
Video 4: bcove.me/mpgxlem7
Video 5: bcove.me/76icm8mq

Related Stories

Acupuncture improves gait function in Parkinson's disease

October 30, 2015

(HealthDay)—For patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), acupuncture is associated with improvement in gait function, according to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Russia denies plans to ban Gmail, Skype

April 9, 2011

The Russian security service denied Saturday it had plans to ban Skype and Gmail after one of its top officials said such services posed a serious security risk.

Irregular arm swing may point to Parkinson's disease

December 10, 2009

Irregular arm swings while walking could be an early sign of Parkinson's disease, according to neurologists who believe early detection may help physicians apply treatments to slow further brain cell damage until strategies ...

Putin slams delays in building showpiece cosmodrome

October 14, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday criticised delays in the construction of a new cosmodrome in the country's far east, which has been plagued by corruption and strikes over unpaid wages.

Recommended for you

Nuclear technology unlocks 50-million-year-old time capsules

December 11, 2017

A scientific analysis of fossilised tree resin has caused a rethink of Australia's prehistoric ecosystem, and could pave the way to recovering more preserved palaeobiological artefacts from the time of dinosaurs or prehistoric ...

Egypt archaeologists discover mummy in Luxor

December 9, 2017

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a mummy in one of two previously unexplored tombs across the Nile from the southern city of Luxor, the antiquities ministry said Saturday.

18 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Shootist
1.3 / 5 (12) Dec 14, 2015
Hillary and BHO's reset with Russia has gone swimmingly.
AGreatWhopper
Dec 14, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
jeffensley
4.9 / 5 (10) Dec 14, 2015
This valuable research has been brought to you by the the Ministry of Silly Walks.
gopher65
not rated yet Dec 14, 2015
This valuable research has been brought to you by the the Ministry of Silly Walks.

As mentioned in the article, the researchers are attempting to narrow down the criteria doctors use to determine whether they should run tests for early Parkinsons and similar syndrome. Not worthless research at all. They just used Putin as a marketing tool for their research.
cantdrive85
Dec 14, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Valentiinro
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 15, 2015
This valuable research has been brought to you by the the Ministry of Silly Walks.

As mentioned in the article, the researchers are attempting to narrow down the criteria doctors use to determine whether they should run tests for early Parkinsons and similar syndrome. Not worthless research at all. They just used Putin as a marketing tool for their research.

That's why he said VALUABLE research!
Whydening Gyre
4 / 5 (4) Dec 15, 2015
Wow.... this one brought some invaluable commentary...
binra
2.5 / 5 (8) Dec 15, 2015
A kind of cloning is readily observable in terms of acquired traits, for the forms or behaviours of influence propagate by induction.
If there is felt to be an advantage - then certain forms are adopted as part of one's persona - which is a kind of meta-communication - through which identity can be masked and allegiances can be indicated.
If there are enough videos going back, the researcher might discover if Putin is a primary seeder as one might expect. When Hilary re-emerged after losing to Obama as part of his team - her diction had become a clone of his.
In fact once you tune in to this - it all shifts to reveal a masquerade
pntaylor
3 / 5 (4) Dec 15, 2015
I don't understand why this is referred to as a "gunslinger's gait".
"Keep the right hand close to the chest"????
A gunslinger would keep his hand close to his thigh, you know, where his gun is.
NealWV
1.8 / 5 (5) Dec 15, 2015
Maybe they are walking this way because of ineffective leader here in the US. So that now the Russians feel and rightly so that their standing has grown tremendously in the last 7yrs. They are no longer #2 like they had been for the last 2 decades. Thanks Obama for giving our adversaries so much confidence that their gait has changed.
Protoplasmix
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 15, 2015
I'm guessing the possibility that they're packing a pocket planner, wallet, or a loose 2nd cell phone in the breast pocket and are autonomously adjusting to keep it from bouncing out just doesn't fit the narrative.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 15, 2015
I don't understand why this is referred to as a "gunslinger's gait".
"Keep the right hand close to the chest"????
A gunslinger would keep his hand close to his thigh, you know, where his gun is.
@pntaylor
depends upon where they keep their gun

it's called the Gunslingers gait because it is painfully obvious (especially to those looking for it) and the hand stays close to the weapon

if the hand stays close to the body front, then you can tell the person is carrying in a shoulder holster. you would then observe for other tell's like rolling shoulders or the adjustment of the arm over the weapon (it gets uncomfortable after long periods, and the roll/adjustment tends to be a reaction that is not thought about)

... if they keep [their hand] close to their side, it is in a belt holster or maybe a back holster

.

I'm guessing the possibility ...pocket planner, wallet, ... cell phone
@Proto
you can tell the difference if you watch carefully
Irukanji
5 / 5 (1) Dec 16, 2015
Might be a good giveaway for border security to spot people who may have previous training of the same type. Also a good way to spot our people going through foreign airports, if it is a subconcious reflex. I doubt Putin would carry a gun when he has a whole army to protect him
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 16, 2015
Might be a good giveaway for border security to spot people who may have previous training of the same type. Also a good way to spot our people going through foreign airports, if it is a subconcious reflex
@Irukanji
it is taught in law enforcement academies (some of them, anyway ) as well as in certain military academies
Border patrol "should" have been trained in spotting armed assailants and the tactics used to conceal weaponry
this doesn't mean all people have the same level of competence though
I doubt Putin would carry a gun when he has a whole army to protect him
that depends: considering his past, i wouldn't put it past him to also remain armed for self protection...

i (personally) sure as heck would continue to carry if i were POTUS
high profile = target
antigoracle
2.3 / 5 (3) Dec 16, 2015
Wow.... this one brought some invaluable commentary...

Brought to you by the Ministry of Silly Squawks.
Nik_2213
not rated yet Dec 17, 2015
Uh, now Putin's taken up arms against IS & Co, 'concealed carry' is wise given probable Kamikase tactics...
xponen
not rated yet Dec 20, 2015
I think the author (of research) had incorrect assumption/premise (both on Parkinson and KGB training). I, for example, had reduced right hand gait all my life. Its comfortable this way, and I'm a nobody.
I suspect a more obvious answer: because you usually carry stuff with your right hand.
shabd
not rated yet Dec 21, 2015
Could it be that people, in highly anxious situations, tend to better "control/suppress" (its not conscious) their dominant side and the other (in Obama's case right) tend to flap a bit more indicating underlying anxiety?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.