Vladimir Putin’s so called allies could be circulating on him like sharks as they wait to see if Russia’s invasion of Ukraine fails, ready to pounce on his premiership.

The secret plot to oust Russian President Vladimir Putin could already be under way, according to one CIA insider.

Ex-CIA Moscow station chief Daniel Hoffman made the claims, saying that Sergei Shoigu, Russian Defence Minister and apparent close Putin-ally, may be central to a mutiny to overthrow the ailing 69-year-old.

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Any plot will be highly clandestine, so as to remove the possibility that Putin finds and kills the power hungry perpetrator.

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“Nobody’s gonna ask, ‘Hey Vladimir, would you like to leave?’ No. It’s a f***ing hammer to the head and he’s dead. Or it’s time to go to the sanatorium,” Hoffman told The Daily Beast.

Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Russian intelligence agency FSB

“They schwack him for it. That’s what they’ll do.”

Hoffman has said there are three key players to keep an eye on if Putin is to be replaced, with Nikolai Patrushev, the chief of Putin’s Security Council, potentially top of the list.

Others include Alexander Bortnikov, the director of Russia’s secretive intelligence agency FSB and Sergei Shoigu, considered by some as the most probable replacement.

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Putin’s position could be under threat if the country’s economy turns south, the country loses more soldiers or general unrest unravels.

Vladimir Putin and Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev
Vladimir Putin and Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev

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However, should Putin be toppled, then Ronald Marks, another ex-CIA agent, fears there could be a huge power struggle in Russia, with chaos ensuing in Moscow.

“It wouldn’t go to hell right away. We’re not talking about tanks in the street right away. What you’re probably going to see though is among the guys around him, there will be a struggle to take that job,” he warned the Daily Beast.

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There has been speculation about Putin’s health in Russia and, while there is ” no immediate threat “, there is more “chatter” about his future, according to Western officials.

Officials believe the 2024 Presidential election is “looking more interesting than it did six months ago”, with younger people more sceptical of the Kremlin’s rhetoric around Ukraine than the older generations in remote areas, who are generally more supportive of the regime.


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