Media: Russian elites unhappy with Putin, discussing three potential candidates to replace him

Discontent is growing among Russian elites with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the ongoing full-scale war against Ukraine. The Kremlin leadership hopes for the departure of the Russian president "in the foreseeable future” but believes that this can happen only if his health deteriorates further, writes the newspaper Meduza, citing sources close to the Administration of the Russian President.

The publication notes that after the April "patriotic upsurge" pessimism has now set in among the Russian elites as Russian economy continues to deteriorate due to the Western sanctions. At the same time, the Kremlin has no way out to end hostilities in Ukraine, while preserving the public support for the current government.

"There are probably almost no people who are satisfied with Putin. Business and many members of the government are dissatisfied with the fact that the president started the war without thinking about the scale of sanctions. It is impossible to live normally with such sanctions, " a source close to the Kremlin told the newspaper.

According to Meduza, the so-called "hawks" (supporters of the continuation of the war) advocate broad mobilization and war until victory over Kyiv. However, the Kremlin, as the interlocutors told reporters, is not ready for mobilization, since back in April the results of closed sociological surveys showed that even those Russians who support the war do not want to fight themselves or send their relatives to the war.

Russia businessmen, as well as most of the "civilian" officials who make up the so-called "peace party" are also dissatisfied with Putin. They do not see steps on the part of the Russian President to achieve peace and foresee an even greater decline in the Russian economy.

"The problems are already visible, and in the middle of summer they will simply pour in from different directions: transport, medicine, even agriculture. No one just thought about such a scale," a source close to the government told Meduza.

According to him, before the war, no one in the Kremlin saw that the European countries can completely stop importing Russian gas and oil. But, despite the fact that the embargo is being discussed in Europe, Putin does not believe that the sanctions will be implemented.

Meduza's sources note that the government circles are increasingly discussing the future of Russia without Putin.

"This is not about the fact that they want to overthrow Putin right now and a coup is being prepared. But there is an understanding or desire that in the foreseeable future he will not lead the country, " the source said.

According to the source, the Kremlin elites are secretly discussing potential successors to Putin, including Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev and First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Sergei Kiriyenko. The latter oversees Donbas issues in the Kremlin and, along with the head of Rosgvardia, Viktor Zolotov, is part of Putin's "inner circle".

At the same time, the sources of the publication stressed that the Kremlin believes that Putin can leave his post "only if his health deteriorated significantly."

"As a result, the discontent of high-ranking officials does not manifest itself in anything other than talking to each other. In the words of an interlocutor close to the federal government, "people spit, but continue to work to keep the country’s was machine going," the publication says.

Thus, the Kremlin is still working on  "referendums" on the accession of the  Luhansk and Donetsk People’s pseudo-republics and the Kherson region to the Russian Federation, which can be held on September 11. Sources do not rule out that along with the "referendums" there will be a vote in Belarus on a merger with Russia - if "it is possible to push Lukashenko", who, in turn, "avoids such a scenario in every possible way."

According to the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry Kirill Budanov, after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, there was an assassination attempt on Putin.

  War in Ukraine, Russia, Putin