A 2008 study conducted by the Pentagon asserts that Russian President Vladimir Putin has Asperger's syndrome, an autism-spectrum disorder that inhibits social function and communication.
The study, obtained by CBS News, claims that the strongman who has ruled Russia since 2000 has "an autistic disorder which affects all of his decisions." The Defense Department's Office of Net Assessment performed the study, basing it only on videos of Putin's public activities. CBS reports that the Pentagon researches had no access to scans of Putin's brain.
"Putin's neurological development was significantly interrupted in infancy," the report states. The study proceeds to speculate that he sustained an "insult" to his brain while still in utero and that his mother may have suffered a stroke while she was pregnant, impacting Putin's brain function and movements on the right side of his body.
"His primary form of compensation for his disorder is extreme control and this is reflected in his decision style and how he governs," the study concludes. Putin's crackdowns on domestic dissent and aggressive foreign policy moves, including Russia's intervention in Ukraine, would seem to mesh with such a conclusion.
However, Dr. Stephen Porges, a psychiatrist quoted in the study saying that Putin "carries a form of autism," now says that he never saw the complete report, and would "back off saying he has Asperger's."