The news is spreading like wildfire in Moscow. It is the main topic of conversation in the offices of the Kremlin and is the subject that passers-by wandering around Red Square are discussing with the utmost dissimulation.
The Russian media are forbidden to talk about it, but it seems that President Vladimir Putin has suffered some sort of coronary syncope that has forced him to stay in bed on the orders of the doctors who are looking after his health.
In the circles closest to the Moscow spheres of power, there is no doubt that the heart condition and the half-depressive state into which the president of all Russia is rumoured to have fallen has its origin in Spain.
Specifically, in the agreement of the Council of Ministers of 4 October which, presided over by the undisputed leader of the European Union, Spain's Pedro Sanchez, approved the draft General State Budget Law for 2023, which allocates 12.825 billion euros to the Ministry of Defence, which with a firm hand and a tempered voice is led by the magisterial Margarita Robles.
With the utmost secrecy, a close associate of Vladimir Putin has revealed to his closest friends how the tragedy unfolded. It happened when the director of the FSB - Russia's main intelligence service - Alexander Bortnikov, handed the president, in a sealed, custard-coloured envelope, a detailed report on the strength and potential of the Spanish Armed Forces in relation to other NATO countries.
One of the first paragraphs of the report reads: "The Spanish Armed Forces are the best equipped, armed and paid of the European NATO countries and with 12,825 million euros for the year 2023 they have more than enough". It should be noted that the Pentagon's International Intelligence Centre has infiltrated the Kremlin's presidential office with a tiny drone the size of a fruit fly, which sends the information captured by its microphones and tiny but powerful camera to a spy satellite.
The document continues. "The amount allocated in 2023 to Spain's defence is clear proof that its Armed Forces have already reached their highest level of modernisation, firepower and, in short, military capabilities to exercise deterrence and, failing that, to deal with any kind of external threat or armed conflict".
Going from a budget of 10,155 million in 2022 - a figure that the then Secretary of State for Defence, Esperanza Casteleiro, emphasised in Congress last November - to one of 12,825 million represents an increase of 26.45%. Is this too much, too little or enough? And if we compare it with that of our northern neighbour?
The report goes on, of course, written in Cyrillic letters. "Spain's defence budget for 2023 contrasts with that of other countries. For example, says the document's editor, with that of Emmanuel Macron's France, whose budget for next year amounts to 43.94 billion euros, 3.5 times the Spanish budget".
The FSB analyst - who previously worked for the KGB - argues the obvious: "if the astute President Sánchez allocates his Defence Ministry an economic volume of 12.825 billion euros and, in contrast, President Macron allocates no less than 43.94 billion euros to his military for the same annual period... what are we to conclude?" And he concludes: "this means that the Spanish army and navy only need a quarter of the resources that France needs".
The Spanish figure also contrasts with that sanctioned in the summer by the German parliament and federal government, which approved a special fund of 100 billion euros to modernise the Bundeswehr over five years, a measure announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
This means that, in addition to the central core defence expenditure of a modest 50.1 billion euros by 2023, a further 8.5 billion euros must be added, bringing Germany's military budget to around 58.6 billion euros.
Having reviewed the European geopolitical environment for defence investment, the Russian intelligence service's assessment is that the PSOE-Unidas Podemos coalition government, led by President Pedro Sánchez and, above all, by his right-hand man, Second Vice-President Yolanda Díaz, "is going out of its way to equip Spanish military units in land, sea, air and space with the best weapons systems".
After the report was read out, Vladimir Putin thought for a few moments, closed his eyes, let out a heavy sigh, pursed his lips, punched the table and growled in front of the two ministers accompanying him: "Now we're really lost!"
Before Kremlin medics burst into the presidential office to bring him out of his momentary lethargy, Putin read the letter to his foreign and defence ministers, diplomat Sergei Lavrov and General Sergei Shoigu, respectively, who were meeting with him at the time.
According to a first cousin of the sister-in-law of one of the Kremlin waiters, Lavrov asked for a poleo-mint infusion to be brought to him, while the military man settled for a shot of vodka in an attempt to recover from the strong impression he had received. Putin was taken to the Kremlin infirmary on a presidential stretcher, where he is recovering.
But the ultra-sensitive microphone of the infiltrated drone picked up a stammering sentence. This has been confirmed by one of the nurses attending to the select patient and one of the bodyguards guarding the infirmary door. Apparently Putin keeps repeating " Yolanda has let me down, Yolanda has let me down, Yolanda has..."