Umair Ali suspects some impending change
Vladimir Putin has shown himself to be a survivor within the intrigue-prone politics and power game in the Kremlin that is the legacy Russian leadership steadfastly adheres to and Putin is by no account the first one to manipulate rules of governance with a view to holding on to superior political power in the land for as long as possible. In the process, Putin has come out to be inscrutable, macho, distrustful, unpredictable, a cultivator of half-truths and disinformation, and fabulously wealthy. He carries quite an odious reputation and is definitely an anti-democratic tyrant who is neither a man of the people nor a believer in human rights. He consistently follows the instincts of a former KGB officer who remains culturally and psychologically wedded to the concept of the Soviet Union that no longer exists. The defunct Soviet Union is undoubtedly still the most powerful influence on his personality, policies, and actions. Naturally suspicious and lacking trust in everyone he is known to keep secrets even from his close associates and is said to studiously avoid phones and computers over surveillance fears. Despite him being under multifarious forms of surveillance Putin is extremely cautious in his words and hides things to an exceptional level.
It is generally acknowledged that it is extremely difficult to understand what is inside his mind and it is equally cumbersome to predict his actions. Putin decides everything himself with a small group of officers, who he trusts are not American spies. From Syria’s civil war to silencing his critics, from US election meddling to Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014, Putin’s political organizing principle appears to be to sowing doubt, then sow doubt about that doubt and at the very least, keep it all as confusing as possible. Most evidence suggests that Putin is sincere in rating that the USSR’s breakup was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century and he has returned to this theme in one form or another on various occasions throughout the years.
The most cumbersome task for circles that are after finding out about who would succeed Putin after two decades in power is to decipher the extremely guarded perceptions that the Russian ruling coterie holds about these matters and they almost never give away anything making lives of the concerned analysts a continuous yet frustrating exercise that often ends in futility. It is widely believed in even wider circles that the riddle of Putin’s successor has not yet been solved though after Putin’s Ukraine adventure there have started to emerge some signs that the Kreo cabal may soon embark upon replacing him, particularly the ill-starred Ukraine war. There are apparently conjecturing galore whether Putin is conducive to such a change.
For the moment it is widely speculated that Nikolai Patrushev, a hardliner among hardliners, would be one possibility. However, other analysts are hopeful that another, more dovish leader, willing to compromise with the West, could one day lead Russia. There exists an eternal doubt about a country that is always torn between its own peculiarities and its equally undeniable links with Europe. The country has never believed in a credible succession system and rulers are consistently changed through well-veil deep intrigue with the loser having little chance to live in safety and becomes the primary target of the group that ends up the winner.
Many observers are now coming to some sort of agreement that Nikolai Patrushev is rumored to be Putin’s possible successor, should there ever be the need to replace the leader at the helm of Russia. Nikolai Patrushev is the one who would take over the leadership of Russia if Putin ever has to undergo an operation or fell ill. Not only have rumors of a possible cancer diagnosis been haunting Putin but in addition, it is hinted that the Russian leader could be suffering from Parkinson’s disease despite the Kremlin’s insistence that the leader’s health is impeccable. Such denials have never been accepted at face value as the Russian ruling cabal strictly hides their personal conditions.
Patrushev regularly supports Putin’s power and is widely regarded as an influential figure in Putin’s circle and is brought into play in order to occupy the executive chair temporarily until his return. Though there are some people close to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu who claims that he could be Putin’s successor but the tactical mistakes and difficulties of the invasion of Ukraine have put him in a worse position. Currently, it appears that Nikolai Patrushev is the most likely candidate and would assume leadership of Russia in the absence of the Russian President, either through illness or perhaps permanently. Nikolai Patrushev is one of Vladimir Putin’s closest confidants and a hardliner in the regime.
He obviously belongs to the “siloviki”, the Russian term for the president’s inner circle of power that consists of Nikolai Patrushev, Sergei Ivanov, Viktor Ivanov, Sergei Shoigu, Alexander Bornikow, and Sergei Naryshkin. Some add Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and some other names. In any case, it is a core of power that brings together Russian leaders who are in one way or another linked to the intelligence services. It is now reported from reliable circles that anyone who knows him knows that Nikolai Patrushev, at 71, is even more ideologically extreme than Vladimir Putin himself and emerged as the key figure in the invasion of Ukraine. It seems that Nikolai Patrushev was the one who finally convinced Vladimir Putin to attack Ukraine and use the term de-Nazification.
In addition, Nikolai Patrushev theorizes that the West is at war with Russia. Most Russian observers are of the concerted opinion that Patrushev is the most hawkish hawk, thinking the West has been out to get Russia for years. Like Putin, his background is also from the intelligence services that hold large and powerful clout in the Russian governance system. From 1999 to 2008 Nikolai Patrushev was head of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor organization to the legendary KGB. In 2008, Nikolai Patrushev was appointed Secretary of the Russian Security Council, a position he still holds.
Nikolai Patrushev is Vladimir Putin’s top defense adviser and his ideals point to the fall of the Soviet Union tying the hands of the Western neoliberal elite. He is a firm believer in traditional Russian Spiritual and Moral Values. His views are that in order to contain Russia, the West is trying to destabilize the socio-political situation in the country, radicalize the protest movement and undermine Russia’s traditional spiritual and moral values. Despite Putin is regularly surrounded by a host of high-ranking personnel including Patrushev.
It is widely reported that Nikolai Patrushev is the only man Putin really trusts and who would override his prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin when appointing a successor. This is unusual in the Russian legal system, although it is doubtful that it would pose a problem for Putin in such a case. Nikolai Patrushev’s son, Dmitry Patrushev, has been Russia’s Minister of Agriculture since 2018 and claims, among other things, that the United States supported Hitler on his way to power. This appears to be quite a complicated mindset that the incumbent Russian leadership holds and could be difficult to be identified with. TW
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