Russian President Vladimir Putin may be bracing for a coup as favour for his invasion of Ukraine dwindles inside the Kremlin, experts have claimed.
Several generals and the Federal Security Service (FSB) are said to be gravely concerned over the lack of military progress and economic issues created by western sanctions.
Some local media outlets say that the FSB has contacted military officials about these concerns, with several former generals rumoured to want Putin gone.
The “Siloviki”, a group of politicians who came from the security services, are said to be working with the FSB and former intelligence officers to oust the 69-year-old, reports the Daily Mirror.
Speaking to The Center for European Policy Analysis, Russian security expert Andrei Soldatov said: “Does it matter? It matters a lot.
“This is the very first time the siloviki are putting distance between themselves and the president. Which opens up all sorts of possibilities.
“The Russian President has been bracing for a coup for some weeks as has faced fierce criticism over his ‘special operation’ in Ukraine and he has purged around 150 of his spies over the constant failures.”
Russian analyst Alexey Muraviev is also convinced Putin is facing a coup.
He told Sky News Australia: “I think that there have been tensions between Russia and the intelligence community and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
“I think that sort of false narrative was presented to them by the Supreme Commander in Chief and when it fired back when the Russians began taking heavy casualties, Putin began quietly blaming the security services.
“I don’t think it went really well also because he’s coming from within the security apparatus.
“About the initial planning and the initial phase of the invasion where the Russian military naturally assume that they’re going there as liberators rather than the invaders.”
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Last month it was reported that Putin ordered a mass purge of 150 security officials.
The officers are said to have been from the FSB, the successor to the KGB, with some removed while others were reportedly arrested.
All of those ousted were said to be employees of the Fifth Service, a division that was set up in 1998 when Putin was director of the FSB to perform operations in former Soviet Union countries.