As rumors spread about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s supposed battle with cancer, a new report has arrived He claims that the strongman will temporarily hand over power To the hardliner Nikolai Patrushev if health problems marginalize him.
Claims It has not been independently verified, and Moscow vehemently denies that Putin is in poor health. But who is the man who will lead the Kremlin if Putin takes a sick day?
Nikolai Patrushev, 70, is the secretary of the Russian Security Council, an influential body that reports directly to Putin and issues directives on military and security issues within Russia. Most of the council’s powers are vested in Patrushev, who is widely seen as a staunch ally of Putin.
Like Putin, Patrushev is a professional Russian intelligence agent, initially with the Soviet KGB, and later with the Russian FSB, according to the English-language Moscow Times. The newspaper likened Patrushev’s role to that of the US National Security Adviser.
In profile 2017, Politico described Patrushev as “the Kremlin’s hawk.” Known for his “fiery nationalism, conspiratorial worldview and vast experience in espionage.”
According to Politico, Patrushev joined the KGB as a young man in 1974. After meeting with Putin in the 1990s, Patrushev was appointed head of Russia’s domestic intelligence service, the FSB – a position he held for a decade. It became part of Putin’s Security Council in 2008.
The former spy was reportedly among Putin’s cadre of advisers during Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and unsurprisingly a staunch supporter of Putin’s current illegal invasion of Ukraine.
last week, In a rare interview with the Russian state-run newspaper Rossiyskaya GazetaPatrushev accused America and Europe of supporting neo-Nazi ideology in Ukraine and seeking to drive the conflict “to the end of Ukraine”.
Patrushev also pushed the Kremlin’s false line that Ukrainians and Russians are one people, divided only at the behest of Western powers.
“Using their Kyiv subordinates,” he said, “the Americans, trying to suppress Russia, decided to create an antithesis to our country, cynically choosing Ukraine, trying to fundamentally divide one people.”
Patrushev also suggested that the war would lead to the dismemberment of Ukraine.
“The result of the policy of the West and the regime in Kyiv can only be the disintegration of Ukraine into several states.” He said.