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Vladimir Putin: If the Russian leader is overthrown, his successor may be even more bloodthirsty


Let’s not take it for granted – this week has not been very good for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Although the Kremlin insists that the so-called “special military operation” is on plan, it is doubtful that the plan called for Ukraine to retake 8,000 square kilometers of occupied territory, including a major city and a vital transport hub, in just a few days.

Now they are making noise in Moscow Putin’s days can be numbered.

But be careful what you wish for, because some of the people who can hold top positions can make Putin look almost sane by comparison.

“If the hardliners come in … they will want to send a message in accordance with the Russian doctrine of ‘Udar’, which means massive shock in Russian. You would force the enemy to surrender and you would win,” said Russian military expert Dr. Rod Thornton of King’s College London. saying in The sun.

“I’m really afraid of using tactical nuclear weapons to send a message to the Russian military that they are serious about Ukraine.”

Putin has years left to rule – if he is not pushed

Theoretically, the 69-year-old Putin can remain in power for another ten years or more. That’s on top of just 16 years he’s already been in power.

A 2021 constitutional change engineered by Putin means he could still be president in 2036.

But he will have to decide relatively quickly whether he is seeking another six-year term, as his current stint ends in 2024. And that means now is the time for future presidents to get to work.

“Putin himself shows no intention of resigning, but looks increasingly relegated to the past,” says Andrei Pertsev, who writes for the US think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“The elites and potential successors are watching his every military move, but they already see that he has no place in their post-war vision of the future.”

Putin’s ship is sinking

Commentator and author CJ Farrington put it even more succinctly Spectator.

“The ship begins to sink and the rats begin to swim.”

Last week, some Russian politicians, bravely and perhaps foolishly, began to interrogate Putin’s strategy in Ukraine after the offensive of Kiev.

Quietly, in the shadows, – Mr. Pertsev wrote, – now there is a battle between those who wanted the war to never happen and those who decided to see Ukraine crushed.

“The war started a public race for successors,” he wrote in August before the invasion of Ukraine.

Strong and silent candidates

Some who hope to take over from Putin are – perhaps on purpose – almost silent on the invasion.

The explanation, Mr. Pertsev said, was their belief that the war was a “temporary affair” and that at some point Russia would seek to restore relations with the West and possibly Ukraine.

“When that time comes, those who have not insulted ‘enemy countries’ and have not directly participated in a military campaign will be in the best position to do so.”

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin can be included in this group.

He used to head the tax inspectorate and is considered one of the most effective apparatchiks in Moscow, who actually makes the government better for people.

Despite his reluctance to make belligerent statements in support of the war, he still remains at the heart of the government.

Another possible candidate who keeps his thoughts on Ukraine to himself is Moscow Mayor Siarhei Sobyanin, who is well-liked by Russians and has a significant power base.

This was reported by security expert Mark Galeotti Al Jazeera With Putin gone this month, the best anyone can hope for is a “pragmatic kleptocrat” who will try to end the war and get Russia out of the global bad books.

“People like Mishustin or Sobyanin may fit that mold, but that doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily ever come to power.”

Hate filled those who hope

But it is just as likely that a so-called “hawk” full of anger, like Putin, can come to power.

One of them is Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia and former president.

He led Russia from 2008 to 2012, a period when he was considered a reformer, but those days are long gone.

During the conflict, he was one of the loudest who attacked Kyiv theatrically.

He hoped that, for example, Ukraine would “disappear from the map”.

“They are bastards and degenerates. They want us, Russia, to die. And as long as I’m alive, I will do everything to make them disappear.”

Which does not bode well for Ukraine when he gets behind the wheel again.

A well-known name, which was supposed to be on the list of successors, is Defense Minister Siarhei Shaigu. However, the company in Ukraine faced many setbacks, which seems almost certain that he was out of favor.

Aleksandar Bortnikov is one of Putin’s “siloviks” or the sanctuary of advisers and security forces. A former employee of the KGB, like Putin, he is the director of its successor, the FSB.

Another name is Alexei Dyumin, Putin’s former bodyguard, whom he liked so much that he promoted him to political positions. Perhaps because Dumin once saved Putin from a bear attack.

In 2014, he was instrumental in the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, so he has impeccable credentials for war supporters.

Ruthless extremist

And also Nikolai Patrushev, one of the security forces closest to Putin and also a graduate of the KGB.

Secretary of Russia’s powerful Security Council, he is so ruthless that he is nicknamed the “hawkish hawk.” In recent years, when Putin’s circle has tightened, Patrushev’s extreme views and hatred of the West have influenced the president.

“Both Putin and Patrushev decry the end of the Soviet Union, and both share a deep distrust of the West fueled by nonsensical conspiracy theories,” Susan Strental, a professor at Texas State University, wrote on the website. Conversation.

“Petrushev has become one of the leading voices in Putin’s inner circle, who wants to wage a merciless war in Ukraine with the ultimate goal of seizing Kiev.”

The former head of Britain’s secret service, Sir Richard Dearlove, said he was in a better position.

“I’d go so far as to say it’s almost certainly going to be Patrushev at this point.” He informed about this Newsweek.

Although Sir Dearlove added that in the long run Patrushev could fall out of favor.

If he were to succeed Putin, there is a real possibility that he would throw even more resources into defeating Ukraine. This may include calling up ordinary Russians to fight on the front lines and the merciless, bloodthirsty destruction of Ukrainian cities.

“The two strategies — loud gestures and loud silence — reflect different approaches and assumptions of those who use them,” Mr. Pertsev said in Carnegie Politics.

“The hawks are acting on the assumption that the successor will be chosen by Putin, so they are imitating his behavior in an attempt to win his favor.

“Those who remain silent are counting on a different succession scenario.”

Putin has such a tight grip on power that his role does not appear to be under threat yet. But he has not been covered with glory in Ukraine, and this means that his once unshakable position at the top of the Russian elite may simply be shaken.

If he does fall over, he worries about what will happen next. There may be no peace.

Originally published as If Putin falls, there is no guarantee that his replacement will want peace in Ukraine


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