Moscow insiders ‘discuss Vladimir Putin successor’ as unease over Ukraine war grows

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Vladimir Putin’s health has been the subject of speculation - Getty Images
Vladimir Putin’s health has been the subject of speculation - Getty Images

Kremlin insiders are discussing a successor to Vladimir Putin amid growing discontent with the course of the war in Ukraine, according to a reputable Russian media outlet.

Meduza, a news website that operates from exile in Latvia, reported that officials believe the only way Putin will be replaced is if he falls gravely ill.

However, it added that discussions about who might replace the Russian president – whose health has been the subject of speculation – are ongoing, quoting unnamed sources.

The war entered its third month on Tuesday, despite Moscow’s conception of it as a lightning operation to topple the government in Kyiv.

“It’s not that they want to overthrow Putin right now and they’re plotting a conspiracy. But there is an understanding, or a wish, that he will not rule the country any more in a not so distant future,” an unnamed source was quoted as saying.

Both hawks and liberal-leaning figures are concerned about the progress of the war for different reasons, Meduza claimed.

Many officials and major businessmen are angry that Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine without considering the devastating economic sanctions the West would impose.

Oleg Tinkov, one of Russia’s most outspoken tycoons, condemned the war and said most Russian businessmen felt the same but were too afraid to say so.

Unnamed officials also told Meduza that Putin refuses to believe Europe will impose an unprecedented oil embargo on Russia, the world’s third-largest oil producer.

The Russian president’s unwillingness to face the economic fallout was clear in a video call last week with the governor of Kaliningrad, who said Russia’s westernmost region was suffering from disruption to transport links because of the war. Putin denied that the conflict had anything to do with the problems.

His allies in the security services are reportedly disappointed with what many have described as indecision in Ukraine.

In an apparent response to scathing criticism from nationalists, Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister, said on Tuesday that Moscow had slowed down its offensive in order to allow an evacuation of civilians from eastern Ukraine.

His remarks were derided by prominent nationalists including Igor Girkin, a former Russian commander in eastern Ukraine, who joked that Russians living near the border with Ukraine would soon have to evacuate in the face of an Ukrainian offensive.

Separately, a close ally of Mr Putin sought to explain in a rare interview on Tuesday why Russia was getting bogged down in Ukraine.

“We are not chasing any deadlines,” Nikolai Patrushev, the chairman of the Security Council, told the Argumenty i fakty newspaper. “Nazism has to be 100 per cent eradicated, or it will rise up again in a few years.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting