Putin's spokesman dismisses 'stupid' Asperger's claim attributed to Pentagon study

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow on Dec 18, 2014. Mr Putin's spokesman has angrily dismissed a Pentagon study that claimed the Russian leader had Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. -- PHOTO: AFP
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during his annual press conference in Moscow on Dec 18, 2014. Mr Putin's spokesman has angrily dismissed a Pentagon study that claimed the Russian leader had Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. -- PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin's spokesman has angrily dismissed a Pentagon study that claimed the Russian leader had Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism.

"That is stupidity not worthy of comment," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Gazeta.ru news website late Thursday.

His comments came after USA Today reported that a 2008 study carried out by an internal Pentagon think tank, the Office of Net Assessment, suggested that Putin has Asperger's syndrome, giving him a need to exert "extreme control" on his surroundings and is uncomfortable with social interaction.

Experts studying his movements and facial expressions in video footage theorised that Putin's neurological development was disrupted in infancy, giving him a sense of physical imbalance and a discomfort with social interaction.

The Pentagon played down the study, saying it apparently never made its way to the desk of the defence secretary or other top decision makers.