In mid-May, General Kyrilo Budanov, Ukraine’s spy chief, stated that a a coup to overthrow Vladimir Putin, assuring that it could take place “in the second half of August”. “In addition, by the end of the year the war with Russia will end and we will renew Ukrainian power in all our territories,” he assured.
Like the rumors about a possible illness, of which a Russian oligarch close to the president and who decided not to reveal his true identity, calling himself Yuri, said he had “blood cancer”, The possibility that Putin will be defeated by the Kremlin itself and its inner circle is also being considered after the miscalculations with the invasion of Ukraine.
Rod Thornton, a professor at King’s College in London, gave an interview to The Sun and predicted what an internal coup against the Russian leader could look like. “The Russian Security Service (FSB) believes that Putin should be removed because he has gone soft on Ukraine,” he said.
Thornton believes Russia’s military intelligence unit, the GRU, could be in the best position to remove Putin and could move soon if they see Russian troops losing ground in eastern Ukraine. “They have the intelligence to do it,” he said.
The expert claims that a small group of top security officials could approach Putin with an ultimatum to step down or even assassinate him. In the event of a coup, he believes the generals would withdraw their best units from the front and bring them to Moscow. “His movements would be picked up by satellites and signal traffic and that would be a sure sign that something bad is happening to Putin.”
However, Thornton anticipates that a coup against Putin is not good news. “He would be replaced by someone who is more hard-line, who is tougher on Ukraine and the special military operation.”
Valery Gerasimov, leader of the Russian army, or the ultra-nationalist Alexander Bortnikov, who heads the FSB, are some of the names being sounded out to replace the president.
“The Russians have been told that they are at war with the Nazis, so whoever takes power can’t suddenly say, ‘oh, we’re giving up. We are withdrawing from the Ukraine.’ That would be like saying ‘oh, we have been defeated by the Nazis’ and no leader in Russia could live with that”, he concludes.