Secret Pentagon report says Putin is suffering from Asperger's Syndrome
A top secret Pentagon report has concluded that Vladimir Putin suffers from Asperger's Syndrome
The study from 2008, which was based only on videos of Mr Putin, claimed that the Russian president's mother had a stroke whilst pregnant with him that left lasting damage.
As a result his "neurological development was significantly interrupted in infancy," the report says. His authoritarian style and obsession with "extreme control" is a way of overcompensating for his condition, the researchers concluded.
Mr Putin's actions have been under particular scrutiny since last year when he ordered Russian troops to annexe Western Ukraine.
The report was prepared for the US military's Office of Net Assessment, a secretive think tank, and was written by Brenda Connors, an expert in movement pattern analysis at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
She analysed videos of Mr Putin's public actions dating back to the year 2000, though they did not have access to scans of his brain.
The report concluded that "the Russian president carries a neurological abnormality" and defined Asperger's as: "An autistic disorder which affects all of his decisions."
The study also suggests that Mr Putin suffered an "insult" to his brain whilst still in his mother's womb that may have caused her to have a stroke whilst pregnant with him.
This could have affected how he thinks and how he moves the right side of his body.
The report says: "His primary form of compensation for his disorder is extreme control and this is reflected in his decision style and how he governs."
Among those quoted in the report is Dr Stephen Porges, who is now a University of North Carolina psychiatry professor, who says: "Putin carries a form of autism."
Reached by the US media, Dr Porges said he had not seen the final report and that Mr Putin could just be difficult in public settings.
He said: "If you need to do things with him, you don't want to be in a big state affair but more of a one-on-one situation some place, somewhere quiet."
According to the UK's National Autistic Society, autism is a form of developmental disorder that affects how people perceive and communicate with the world.
Some 700,000 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum disorder, and Asperger's is a form of the condition. Famous Asperger's sufferers include Dan Ackroyd, Susan Boyle and Daryl Hannah.
Albert Einstein was thought to have had Asperger's, as did Marilyn Monroe and Abraham Lincoln.
The Office of Net Assessment provides long-range plans for the Pentagon and helps shape future strategy for the US. (© Daily Telegraph, London)