Reports circulated by the General SVR accounts on social media claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin suffered a heart attack. The account claims to belong to a high-ranking member or members of Russia’s external intelligence agency. Putin’s health has been a matter of speculation for years.
If Putin dies it could set up a major power struggle. The account claims that Putin’s inner circle is readying itself for Putin’s death. It mentions that Putin wants Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin as his successor. Putin’s position is secure until he either resigns or dies.
The media also reported on the alleged occurrence.
The same account has circulated unverified reports that Putin suffers from cancer. It claimed that Putin was found in a convulsive state after being discovered by aides in the bathroom adjacent to his bedroom. They heard the Russian president fall and rushed to see what had happened.
“Putin convulsively arched while lying on the floor, rolling his eyes. The doctors who were on duty at the residence and located in one of the adjacent rooms were immediately called,” General SVR wrote on Telegram. “Doctors performed resuscitation, having previously determined that the president was in cardiac arrest. Help was provided on time, the heart was started and Putin regained consciousness. The President was moved to a specially equipped room in his residence, where the necessary medical equipment for resuscitation had already been installed, practically an intensive care ward equipped with the latest technology.”
General SVR claims that a body double of Putin routinely takes his place at state events.
The Technocrat vs. The Spy
However, a power struggle could ensue after Putin leaves the scene.
General SVR claims that Putin’s inner circle is readying itself for Putin’s death. It mentions that Putin wants Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin as his successor. Putin’s position is secure until he either resigns or dies.
Mishustin is regarded as a technocrat and a “yes-man” who gets things done. He has been praised for his ability to help Russia recover from Western sanctions and his ability to manage the budget of the Russian government. He is lackluster and likely does not have the charisma of Nikolai Petrushev, the head of Russia’s national security council. Petrushev’s job is roughly equivalent to that of the U.S. national security adviser.
Petrushev is seen as an advocate of hardline, hawkish policies in the Kremlin. Having him as Putin’s successor would ensure that not much would change policywise should Putin die.
The Chekist mafia that runs Russia appears firmly in control of the country. It has kept Putin in power for over 20 years. It is the only institution to survive the collapse of the USSR and seems intent on keeping things that way.
Patrushev and Putin go back decades to their days serving together in the St. Petersburg branch of the KGB in the early 1990s.
Repeat of Post-Stalin Era Likely When Putin Dies
If this happens it could play out similarly to after Stalin died. Georgy Malenkov succeeded Stalin but lacked his charisma and power. However, Nikita Khrushchev organized a bloc within the Soviet Politburo that ousted Malenkov within a year.
Patrushev has been the brains behind Russia’s war in Ukraine. As an intelligence officer, Patrushev has been trained to be cunning and play people against each other.
He likely has the talent to outmaneuver Mishustin in the event he becomes Putin’s successor. The odds are that Patrushev would be a strong candidate to win the battle for the Russian presidency in the long run, even if he does not succeed Putin directly.
Just as Khrushchev outmaneuvered Malenkov, Patrushev likely would do the same to Mishustin.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.
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