Russia’s elite wants Putin out, his successor in mind: Ukraine’s intelligence chief

Russian elites are reportedly intent on deposing President Vladimir Putin, according to Ukrainian intelligence, with a successor already in mind.

The inflammatory complaint came on Sunday from the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry via a post on the ministry’s official Facebook page. The post boldly begins with “Poisoning, sudden illness, accident – Russian elite consider possibility of eliminating Putin”.

“In the environment of the Russian business and political elite, a group of influential figures opposing [Vladimir Putin] is formed,” the post read. “Their goal is to oust Putin from power as soon as possible and restore economic ties with the West, which were destroyed by the war in Ukraine.

Ukrainian intelligence officials say a group of Russian elites are planning to remove Russian President Vladimir Putin from power following the invasion of Ukraine. Above is a snapshot of Putin during a meeting with other members of the Russian government in March 2022.
Mikhail Klimentiev/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

The alleged group not only plans to potentially assassinate Putin, according to the post, but has also decided on a potential successor: Alexander Bortnikov, who is currently the director of Russia’s Federal Security Service and led the analysis of Ukraine’s population. and military capabilities. before the recent invasion.

The top management says Putin and Bortkinov had a falling out recently, with the Russian president blaming his subordinate for the country’s struggles to gain control of Ukraine. Bortkinov would now work with the group of Russian elites to devise potential ways to eliminate Putin.

“It was Bortnikov who recently fell out of favor with the Russian dictator,” the post claims. “The official reason for the fall of the head of the FSS is fatal miscalculations in the war against Ukraine. It was Bortnikov and his department who were responsible for analyzing the opinions of the Ukrainian population and the ability of the Ukrainian army.”

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The possibility that Putin will be forcibly removed from power, either by assassination or by other means, has been a constant topic of conversation on the world stage since the start of the invasion of Ukraine. While this conflict has inflicted immense losses on the Ukrainian people and crippling economic sanctions have been imposed on Russia as a result, the notion, while controversial, has persisted.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, originally from South Carolina, has recently come under fire for repeatedly suggesting that Putin must be assassinated to end the Ukraine conflict. Experts warn that such rhetoric could give the impression that the US government supports the antagonistic idea.

“The only way this ends is if someone in Russia takes this guy down,” Graham tweeted on March 3. “You would be doing your country – and the world – a great service.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki strongly denounced his words and assured the international community that the Biden administration was not advocating for such action.

“No, we’re not advocating killing the leader of a foreign country or regime change,” Psaki said at a press conference the day after Graham’s tweet. “That is not the position of the United States government and certainly not a statement you would hear coming out of anyone working in this administration.”


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