Nikolai Patrushev – the key inner circle ally tipped to succeed Vladimir Putin

Nikolai Patrushev has reportedly been recommended by Vladimir Putin’s “inner circle” to succeed the Russia’s president, but who is the man who could be tasked with one of the biggest jobs in his country’s history?

Putin is continuing his bloody and brutal war in Ukraine at pace, but speculation over his seriously deteriorating health has exploded following astonishing claims made on a Russian Telegram channel.

Telegram General SVR recently claimed his death is “imminent” after a “sharp deterioration in his health” and that body doubles could even be used to impersonate him after he dies or is removed from power.

The same channel has also claimed Putin’s “inner circle” trying to agree on the idea of the “continuation of the Putin regime after Putin” – and the top candidate is said to be Patrushev.

But what is known about Patrushev?

Who is Nikolai Patrushev? 

Patrushev is a Russian politician, security officer, and intelligence officer who has served as the Secretary of the Security Council of Russia for the past 15 years.

He had previously served as the Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) for nearly a decade, and is known to be extremely hostile towards the West and US.

The 72-year-old – slightly older than his possible predecessor – played a key role in the decisions to invade Crimea in 2014, Syria in 2015, and Ukraine again in 2022.

The close Putin ally is seen by many as the brains behind the president’s war in Ukraine and a key component of the despot’s inner circle.

Patrushev’s wild attacks and threats against the West

Patrushev is possibly best known since the start of the Ukraine war for his wild and outrageous conspiracy theories during regular interviews with state-controlled media in Russia.

In April 2022, he claimed Washington “tried to force Russia to give up sovereignty, self-consciousness, culture, an independent foreign and domestic policy.”

He also claimed the West was looking to reduce “the world’s population in various ways,” including creating “an empire of lies, involving the humiliation and destruction of Russia and other objectionable states.”

In June 2022, Patrushev accused the US, Britain, the European Union and Japan of an “increasingly adventurous and aggressive policy.”

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Putin appears to limp in April amidst speculation over his health

The Russian security chief claimed this was “based on a complete detachment from reality, the desire to construct their own imaginary world, which they will rule.

The 72-year-old added: “Such an escape from reality is a real threat to all of humanity.”[43]

During an interview with the official government paper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, he said the war between Russia and Ukraine is only part of a wider conflict with NATO and the “collective West”.

In a chilling warning, Patrushev said Russia “has modern, unique weapons capable of destroying any adversary, including the United States, in the event of a threat to its existence.”

Who is tipping Patrushev to succeed Putin?  

Putin has never publicly spoken about his possible replacement, but Patrushev is rumoured to be the clear favourite, with claims those close to the Russian president also favour him.

Historically, the constitutional stance is if Putin were to die in office, then he would be replaced by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin for a three-month period – making him the acting president.

Telegram channel General SVR claimed: “Putin himself refused to leave any instructions or covenants on what to do after him, preferring to withdraw into himself, and perhaps deciding that the chaos after him is the best legacy.

“Be that as it may, the end will come very soon. Power in Russia in a crisis situation traditionally goes to the one who turns out to be the most daring.”

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