Russian President Putin meets with Governor of Primorsky Region Kozhemyako at Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow


  • Kyrylo Budanov said Russia was already planning how to transfer Putin's presidential powers
  • The plan fell through after Russia failed to come to a decision on how to replace Putin
  • Budanov said Russia may see a 'palace coup' occur but it would unlikely be publicly announced by the Kremlin

Russia has been considering overthrowing and replacing current President Vladimir Putin for the past year, according to Ukraine's intelligence chief.

Speaking in an interview with RBC-Ukraine on Monday, Ukraine's Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR) head Kyrylo Budanov added that Russia was also already planning how to transfer Putin's powers to another person. However, the plan failed to come to fruition after Russia failed to come to a decision on how to replace Putin.

"[The Russian elites] have been considering options for the transfer of power and have been considering it for more than a year, but they cannot come to this in any way," Budanov said, as translated via Google Translate.

Budanov also confirmed that Russian elites have already chosen Putin's potential successors, noting that there is "not just one candidate." He refused to give specific names.

Despite the plan not pushing through, Budanov said Russia may see a "palace coup" occur. But according to him, the coup would unlikely be publicly announced by the Kremlin. He added that they will instead say that people died of a certain illness or were arrested over espionage charges.

"Can there be a "palace" rebellion? Maybe. But you won't see it," he said. "At most, they will say that someone died of a heart attack, and someone was arrested because he turned out to be an agent of British intelligence, as it was in the 30s, remember? It's all already happened. During the Livonian War, many were executed as agents of the Livonian state."

Budanov's remarks come weeks after Russian sociologist Igor Eidman said that Putin could soon find himself overthrown by the Russian elite after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against him for his role in the forced deportation of Ukrainian children amid the war.

In addition to the arrest warrant, Eidman also said Putin's career as Russia's president will likely end if Russia losses against Ukraine in the war.

"I think, his regime won't survive after such a defeat, not that long, but not for several months after such a defeat. And defeat would be not just surrendering everything, including Crimea, but even retreating to the positions of Feb. 24, 2022," Eidman said.

As of Monday, Ukraine continued to hold its defenses in the contested city of Bakhmut despite being outgunned by Russian forces.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via a video link