Who could replace Vladimir Putin? The three people most likely to be Russia’s President

Russian state outlets 'contributing to Ukraine war' says Krichevskaya

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Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has not only raised serious questions about the Russian president’s mental stability, but the escalating violence and severe economic sanctions placed on Russia from all over the world are naturally not sitting too well with a number of Russian elites in and out of Putin’s circle. A few oligarchs have even denounced the invasion, calling for Putin to put a stop to it.

This, peppered with Putin’s looming threats of nuclear war, is stirring resistance to the president.

Despite the danger this can inflict, hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens have taken to the streets to take part in anti-war demonstrations. More than 14,200 people have been arrested since the start for taking part, according to the Independent monitoring group OVD-Info.

A number of Russian oligarchs, Russia’s most wealthy and powerful, have also spoken out against the conflict.

Oligarch Oleg Tinkov, the founder of Russia’s Tinkoff Bank, said in an Instagram post: “Innocent people are dying in Ukraine now, every day, this is unthinkable and unacceptable.”.

Mikhail Fridman, another Russian Oligarch, denounced the invasion, saying: “I am deeply attached to Ukrainian and Russian peoples and see the current conflict as a tragedy for them both.

“War can never be the answer. This crisis will cost lives and damage two nations who have been brothers for hundreds of years.”

Despite the recent bill Putin enforced, which allows him to run for president for a further two terms, his position in office is certainly under threat. But who is most likely to replace him if the president is removed from power?

Here are the three most likely candidates to replace Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Mikhail Mishustin

Mikhail Mishustin is the current prime minister of Russia.

He took office just before the COVID-19 pandemic shortly after Dmitry Medvedev, the former Russian president who then took office as prime minister, resigned.

If Putin were to suddenly die or be incapacitated, theoretically, Mr Mishustin would take over.

Mr Mishustin, the former director of the Federal Taxation Service in Russia had gotten to know Putin well while playing with him in the Night Hockey League of top officials and businessmen in Russia, which later led to his appointment.

He was conveniently placed to bridge the gap between Russia’s powerful security agencies and the bureaucrats, as the tax agency is involved in both paperwork and enforcing regulations.

However, Mr Mishustin has received a large volume of criticism over his time in office, by the population as well as ambitious members of the Kremlin.

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It is also argued he is merely a “technical” prime minister – and that Mr Medvedev, who was appointed as deputy chairman of Russia’s security council by Putin, could return to the presidency before Mr Mishustin gets a chance.

Sergei Sobyanin

Sergei Sobyanin is another potential candidate.

The 63-year-old mayor of Moscow is viewed as one of the most influential men in the country, with a political career spanning over three decades.

Mr Sobyanin has maintained a reputation as an effective mayor and has overseen an extensive reconstruction programme to turn Moscow into a modern European city.

Mr Sobyanin is reported to be popular with the people, as well as Putin, as he’s said to have exercised authority in Putin’s best interests over the course of his time as mayor – so he could be high on the list.

Sergei Shoigu

Sergei Shoigu is Russia’s ‘second-most’ popular politician after Putin.

The 64-year-old defence minister has been ranked as the country’s greatest military leader after World War Two General Georgy Zhukov.

Mr Shoigu took over as minister of defence in 2012, despite having no previous military experience, overseeing the overhaul and modernisation of Russia’s military.

Mr Shoigu has also been instrumental in organising the invasion of Ukraine, although was recently caught on camera grimacing at Putin’s order to place Russia’s nuclear deterrent on high alert.

Despite this, his ascent to power could be complicated due to his involvement in Ukraine’s invasion – which, as noted, has not been popular with the people of Russia.

However, he is said to be more pragmatic than Putin, so could potentially be a more favourable option to take the presidency.

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