As Vladimir Putin’s current presidential term in Russia is set to expire next year, recent reports have speculated about potential successors in the event of his death or resignation. Several names have surfaced, shedding light on the uncertain future of Russian leadership.
Putin’s Health Rumors:
Persistent rumors about Putin’s health have fueled this discussion. Reports ranging from thyroid cancer to Parkinson’s disease have circulated in recent years, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the future of Russia post-Putin.
If Putin were to pass away or resign suddenly, the Federation Council of the Russian Federation has 14 days to announce early presidential elections. During this interim period, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin would assume the role of acting president. However, some consider him an unlikely candidate for permanent appointment due to his perceived lack of popularity within Putin’s inner circle.
Dmitry Medvedev, one of Putin’s closest associates, is considered a potential successor. He previously served as Russia’s president from 2008 to 2012 before resigning as part of a pre-arranged agreement. Over the years, his role under Putin’s leadership has diminished his ability to consolidate power among the Russian elite.
Sergei Kiriyenko, serving as the first deputy head of the administration, is a member of Putin’s inner circle and holds daily access to the Russian dictator. Despite his involvement in critical issues, some believe he is better suited to be a “backroom” operator.
Once considered a likely candidate, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s reputation was tarnished by the Russian army’s performance in the war against Ukraine. Although he remains relatively popular, his chances of becoming president have dwindled. However, he could still play a significant role as a kingmaker.
Nikolai Patrushev, Russia’s Security Council Secretary, has been a longtime associate of Putin, dating back to their time in the KGB. He played a crucial role in the invasion of Ukraine and wields significant influence. There are rumors that his son Dmitry might be a potential successor due to his position as Minister of Agriculture.
Other Possible Candidates:
Other names that have been suggested as potential Kremlin leaders include Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, former bodyguard Alexei Dyumin, and head of the administration Dmitry Kozak. The key for any successor will be the ability to create a coalition and gain acceptance among the technocrats and the security elite.
While the future of Russia without Putin remains uncertain, some experts believe that the Russian political elite will work swiftly to address the crisis and seek to end the conflict with Ukraine and confrontations with the West. Putin may become the scapegoat for the challenges faced by the country.
Amid these speculations, it is essential to remember that the Russian political landscape is subject to rapid changes and intricate power dynamics that will ultimately shape the nation’s leadership in a post-Putin era.