Putin replacement: From Russia’s PM to the chief of the FSB – 5 presidential hopefuls

Putin's power under threat after Ukraine war miscalculation

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Political analysts have commented that Russian President Vladimir Putin has looked noticeably more bloated around the face and neck in recent TV appearances. On Tuesday, fresh questions were raised after he held a meeting with Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon. A clip from the talks showed the 69-year-old fidgeting and bizarrely tapping his feet for sustained periods.

If Mr Putin were to become too ill to rule as Russian President, a successor would have to be named.

Several individuals have been touted for the position but who exactly are they?

1) Mikhail Mishustin

As Prime Minister of Russia, Mikhail Mishustin would be well placed to take over from the incumbent President.

Mr Mishustin chairs the Russian Federation’s central government and previously served as the county’s director of the taxation service.

Since 2020, he’s held the role of PM after being nominated to follow in the footsteps of Dmitry Medvedev.

2) Sergei Sobyanin

Sergei Sobyanin is not thought to be within Mr Putin’s inner circle, but he has displayed similar leadership traits to him.

He’s currently Mayor of Moscow and has a track record for cracking down on dissent from the public via the deployment of the city’s police force.

Mirroring decisions made by Mr Putin, he has also made efforts to reduce LGBT freedoms in Russia and banned pride parades in the city.

3) Sergei Shoigu

One of the key people co-ordinating the Russian invasion of Ukraine is the country’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu.

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Though the Russian military is thought to largely follow his command, he in turn receives his orders from Mr Putin.

Mr Shoigu is recognised as being within the incumbent President’s inner circle which could work to his advantage if an opening were to arise.

4) Nikolai Patrushev

Nikolai Patrushev is one of Russia’s most senior security chiefs and heads up the Federal Security Service (FSB).

The FSB succeeded the KGB in 1991 and oversees domestic security arrangements.

A UK public inquiry found that he was likely to have approved the fatal poisoning of FSB whistle-blower Alexander Litvinenko.

5) Dmitry Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev is the only other person to have ruled as Russian President since Mr Putin first assumed office in 2000.

He currently serves as deputy chairman of the Russian security council and could be eyeing up a second tenure after Mr Putin’s reign has ended.

It remains to be seen whether he could launch such a campaign after losing his position as PM and being accused of personal corruption.

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