Russian channel claims Putin near death after ‘sharp deterioration’ in health

Vladimir Putin’s death is “imminent” after a “sharp deterioration in his health” and body doubles could be used to impersonate him after he dies or is removed from power, a Telegram channel has claimed.

This is according to the General SVR channel, which has speculated Russia’s president could be seriously ill.

It predicted a body double would continue in power after he dies in order to hide his demise from ordinary Russians.

But there is reportedly a row between his aides over who should control these body doubles – lookalikes who have been trained by his FSO secret service as stand-ins for Putin.

The Telegram channel posted: “The attending doctors predict Putin’s imminent death amid a sharp deterioration in his health.

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“In the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a fuss began with an attempt to create a consensus around the idea of the continuation of the existence of the Putin regime after Putin.

‌”There is a general understanding that for some time it is possible to use a double of the president after the death or removal from power of the real Vladimir Putin.

“Almost all interested parties are ready to rally around a double who can be controlled.‌

“The only problem is who will control the double, and this requires mutual trust, which simply does not exist.”

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Putin has not publicly voiced an opinion of his possible replacement, but the top candidate is said to be FSB chief and top security aide Nikolai Patrushev.

The Telegram channel – without providing any solid proof – also claims those close to Putin favour Patrushev.

But a row could yet explode over the Russian president’s replacement, with some senior players understood to be seeking “guarantees” on their future under a new regime.‌

Historically, the constitutional stance is if Putin were to die in office, then he would be replaced by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin for a three-month period – making him the acting president.

The Telegram channel continued: “Putin himself refused to leave any instructions or covenants on what to do after him, preferring to withdraw into himself, and perhaps deciding that the chaos after him is the best legacy.

“Be that as it may, the end will come very soon. Power in Russia in a crisis situation traditionally goes to the one who turns out to be the most daring.”

Speculation around Putin’s ill health has been swirling for several months, with the Russian president only making fleeting public appearances and speeches since the Ukraine war began.

On Tuesday, he was pictured meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani at the Kremlin in Moscow.

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