KEY POINTS

  • The Russian business community and many Kremlin members are reportedly unsatisfied with Putin
  • Russia was hit with five rounds of sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine
  • Putin is rumored to be suffering from cancer and other illnesses

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s own closest allies are reportedly discussing who will replace him amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Several of Putin’s allies have reportedly discussed a list of potential candidates to replace the Russian leader, including former President Dmitry Medvedev, who is now serving as the Security Council’s deputy chairman; Sergei Sobyanin, the mayor of Moscow; and Sergei Kirienko, Putin’s deputy chief of staff, several sources with knowledge of the discussion told Russian news website Meduza

“It’s not about them wanting to prepare a plot and overthrow Putin right now. But there is an understanding, or a desire, that in the fairly foreseeable future he will not run the country,” one source said. 

Another source with knowledge of the matter told the publication that many members of the Kremlin and the Russian business community are unsatisfied with Putin amid the war, adding that the leader may not have thought about the consequences of the invasion. Russia has been hit with five rounds of sanctions following the invasion, with a sixth round possibly on the way.  

“There are probably almost no [members of the elite] who are satisfied with Putin. [The business community] and many members of the government are unhappy that the president started the war without thinking about the scale of sanctions—it’s impossible to live with such sanctions,” the source said.

Despite the discussions, the publication said Russian officials are aware that Putin can only be removed from power should his health take a turn for the worse. According to reports, the Russian leader could be suffering from terminal cancer and a host of other illnesses. 

Video footage of Putin, including a clip showing him constantly fidgeting and twisting his legs during a meeting with Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon in mid-May, also added to speculations about his health condition. 

In April, a separate video also showed Putin fidgeting and biting his lips during an Orthodox Easter service in Moscow. 

The Kremlin has not confirmed or denied rumors related to Putin’s health. The International Business Times also could not independently verify the authenticity of reports about Putin’s health. 

The United States is ramping up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin, ending an escape clause allowing his government to pay foreign debts The United States is ramping up pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin, ending an escape clause allowing his government to pay foreign debts Photo: POOL via AFP / Alexander NEMENOV