Putin expected to fall in ‘near future’ as war shows President not invincible | World | News

Ramzan Kadyrov says his time ‘is also coming’

Potential rivals are now jockeying for position in amid speculation that could be forced out, insiders have suggested. And one UK expert believes should the be toppled, it will be a free for all as potential rivals stake their competing claims.

Putin yesterday lashed out against Ukraine, raining down missiles on major cities in what he said was revenge for an explosion which seriously damaged the Kerch bridge linking Russia and Ukraine, and launched another strike which apparently targeted a school this morning.

The war – which has seen Russia’s troops suffer a series of setbacks in recent weeks – is said to be backfiring on Putin by “undermining his air of invincibility”, a Politico comment piece said today.

“For the first time in two decades, the Russian president’s opponents think it more likely than not that he will depart in the near term, although they disagree about how the endgame might play out, who might replace him, and when,” writes Jamie Dettmer. 

Exiled former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, Russia’s prime minister from 2000 to 2004, is amonf others who have claimed Putin’s grip on power is slipping.

Vladimir Putin Ramzan Kadyrov

Vladimir Putin and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (Image: GETTY)


Kerch: The bridge in flames after last week’s blast (Image: GETTY)

Speaking to Sky News on September 30, he said: “In three or four months, I believe there will be a crucial change.”

Meanwhile fellow exile Mikhail Khodorkovsky said: “Can he wiggle out? I don’t know.”

Khodorkovsky cited recent criticism of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine by paramilitary boss Yevgeny Prigozhin – founder of Putin’s army of mercenaries, the Wagner Group – and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who recently advocated the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

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Yevgeny Prigozhin

Yevgeny Prigozhin is the founder of the notorious Wagner Group (Image: GETTY)

He added: “Prigozhin is under the control of Putin today. But he’s also getting ready for life for after Putin. And he’s building a relationship with Kadyrov.”

In an article written for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in August, Russian journalist Andrey Pertsev said the conflict had “set in motion a public race of the successors

He said: “In recent years, political manoeuvring in Russia was kept in the shadows, but in this new era, loud proclamations and high-visibility political gesturing are again the norm.

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Ramzan Kadyrov

Ramzan Kadyrov has advocated the use of tactical nuclear weapons (Image: GETTY)

Vladimir Putin Sergey Sobyanin

Vladimir Putin and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin (Image: GETTY)

“It is as though an active election campaign is already under way, with bureaucrats and functionaries within the ruling party doing their best to get into the limelight and even attacking one another.”

In 1953, following the death of Joseph Stalin, a system of collective leadership was introduced in Russia, with Nikita Khrushchev emerging as the de facto leader after being appointed First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

However, speaking to Express.co.uk last week, Nikolay Petrov, a research fellow with the Chatham House think tank, said there was little prospect of something similar happening this time.

He explained: “The circumstances are different now. First of all, there is no political party which Putin is using to keep in power.

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin’s life in pictures (Image: Express)

“That’s why the whole branch of power is absent so we should bear in mind that there is the government which controls the social and economic sphere, and another government controlled directly by the President.

“So here are two basic forces. Regional leaders do not play any important role now except for Sergey Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow and Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Chechnya.”

Everything is based on the “cult of personality” surrounding Putin, Mr Petrov stressed.

He added: “The institutions are very weak, which means that in the case of Putin disappearing unexpectedly, everybody will fight against everybody else.”

Mikhail Khodorkovsky

Mikhail Khodorkovsky is currently in exile (Image: GETTY)

Russian missiles hit targets across Ukraine early on Monday, killing 19 people and wounding 105, emergency services officials said, as they tore into intersections, parks and tourist sites.

As many as 301 settlements in the regions of Kyiv, Lviv, Sumy, Ternopil and Khmelnytsky remained without electricity on Tuesday morning.

Speaking yesterday, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, said more Western help to Ukraine raised the risk of a wider war.

He told reporters: “Such assistance, as well as providing Kyiv with intelligence, instructors and combat guidelines, leads to further escalation and increased the risks of a clash between Russia and NATO.”

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