Putin, who ruled Russia for more than 20 years, has long been seen as the arbiter between the various “clans” at the height of his power. The source of his position, it was said, was the skillful reconciliation of different interests and not disturbing the balance between the factions of the power structures, the intelligence services, the army and business. Debates over Putin’s successor have continued for years, spurred by his personal decisions and forced changes to the constitution.
In the eyes of many commentators, Putin was aiming for a situation that would give him several options to choose from, while at the same time leaving his surroundings uncertain about who he would ultimately refer to.
In discussions about possible successors, the head of the Russian Security Council was mentioned Nikolai PatrushevAs a representative of intelligence and the man Putin trusts the most. Patrushev has been Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation since 2008, and previously was the head of the Federal Security Service (FSB). During the Soviet Union, Patrushev went through many career ladders in various departments of the KGB in Leningrad, Putin’s hometown; Joined the FSB in Moscow in 1994. In 1998 in the administration (office) of the then president Boris Yeltsin He became the head of the Main Control Board, replacing Putin, who was promoted to the post of director of the FSB. And when Yeltsin appointed Putin prime minister in 1999, Patrushev transferred to the post of head of the FSB.
Patrushev has always been considered the person ideologically closest to Putin around him; Putin himself later repeated many of his accusations against the West. In 2005, Patrushev publicly said that the “color revolutions” in the countries of the former Soviet Union were inspired by Western intelligence, and that NGOs were a tool of foreign intelligence. The significance of the head of the Security Council of the Russian Federation during the war with Ukraine is manifested in the fact that it is he who gives its public justifications, for example in press interviews. The West is accused of having long sought war with Russia and equipped Ukraine for this end.
Although Patrushev is considered a strong candidate even for Putin’s interim successor, some commentators believe his age – 70 years – It is an obstacle, and Putin’s place must be replaced by a person of the generation 40-50 years.
67 years as defense minister Sergei Shoigu He has been the Minister of Defense of Russia since 2012. At the end of the nineties he was Minister of Emergencies. It appeared in the places of disasters and accidents, symbolizing the rescuers who are fighting for human life. This made him more popular than then Prime Minister Putin I Rumors spread about his presidential ambitions. In 1999, Shoigu was included in the electoral list of the newly formed pro-Kremlin party, Current United Russia. However, he decided not to challenge Putin and participate in the presidential elections. According to experts, the loyalty that appeared at that time is the source of Shoigu’s position in Putin’s entourage. For almost a decade, the official media have been publishing snapshots of their joint vacation trips, most often to their native region of Shoigu – the Republic of Tuva in the Asian part of the Russian Federation.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine Shoigu hasn’t appeared in public for some time. This sparked rumors that he had lost popularity in the Kremlin. However, due to the role of the army, the position of defense minister is increasing, which is why the name Shoigu did not disappear from the discussions about his successor. It also notes that the President of Russia has always been of Russian origin.
The president of Russia, and in fact – the regent of the Kremlin, was 56 years old in the years 2008-2012. Dmitriy Medvedev. He was never denied the opportunity to return to the Kremlin. Medvedev and Putin have known each other since the 1990s, during their collaboration in the Saint Petersburg city government. When Yeltsin appointed Putin as prime minister in 1999, Medvedev became deputy head of the government’s chancellery. He headed Putin’s election staff twice (in 2000 and 2004), and later became the first deputy prime minister.
When in 2008, after two consecutive presidential terms, according to the constitution, Putin could not run for another term, Medvedev became a presidential candidate and won the elections in March 2008. Then Putin became prime minister. In 2011, Medvedev did not fight for another term, and reshuffled his posts with Putin. The former president, once considered pro-Western, has continued his violent anti-Western rhetoric since the beginning of his invasion of Ukraine. There are many voices that he wants in this way to remind him of his loyalty as a partner in the “tandem” with Putin, because he still sees himself in this role.
Aside from Putin’s three longtime partners, former or current officials in the Kremlin administration have been mentioned as candidates for his successor. Among them – 59 years Sergei Kirienko, former prime minister, current first deputy head of the Putin administration. He is considered a veteran of the Kremlin apparatus with the support of businessmen. His name was mentioned as a candidate for “interim” president. In May, Kirienko appeared in the devastated city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine.
The speaker of the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, has also been associated with the administration of the Russian president in the past, but it is believed that he does not have his own “clan” behind him. In turn, the President of the Senate of the Federation Council, Valentina Matwijenko He has extensive contacts in the bureaucracy, the Prime Minister Michael Mishustin According to the constitution, he must head the government if the president is suddenly absent. Some commentators believe that such “unclear” candidates who might sit in the Kremlin should not be ruled out thanks to the consensus of the various groups.
Another mentioned solution is the collective leadership of Russia, with the participation of Patrushev and the president’s youngest daughter, 35 years old. Katerina Tikhonova. This will be a kind of analogy with the role played by his daughter and official advisor Tatyana Dachenko at the end of the Yeltsin era.
There is no shortage of opinion on rumors about Putin’s successor already Dangerous for such a candidate. He is frustrated by Putin himself and by the hostility of rival groups. According to other estimates, reports of illness and the imminent departure of Putin, which intensified during the war with Ukraine and sanctions against Moscow, may also serve as a test of loyalty.
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