A new report claims that a group of unnamed Russian elites are planning to overthrow Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Poisoning, sudden illness, accident — Russia’s elite is considering removing Putin,” declared a Sunday Facebook post from the Chief Directorate of Intelligence for the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.
“A group of influential people in opposition to Vladimir Putin is being formed among the Russian business and political elite,” the directorate said, according to a translation. “Their goal is to remove Putin from power as soon as possible and restore economic ties with the West that were destroyed by the war in Ukraine.”
The intelligence alleged that the group of elites is looking at Alexander Bortnikov, the Russian director of the Federal Security Service and a member of Putin’s inner circle, as a replacement. The directorate said Bortnikov and Putin have had falling out after Putin blamed him for “fatal miscalculations” in the planning and execution of the invasion of Ukraine.
“Bortnikov and his department were responsible for analyzing the mood of the population of Ukraine and the capacity of the Ukrainian army,” the directorate said. “A certain part of the Russian political elite of the Russian Federation considers as the successor of Putin – the director of FSB Alexander Bortnikov. It is noteworthy that Bortnikov has recently fallen out of favor with the Russian dictator. The official reason for the disgrace of the head of the FSB – fatal miscalculations in the war against Ukraine,” the post said.
“It was Bortnikov and his department who were responsible for analyzing the mood of the Ukrainian population and the capacity of the Ukrainian army. It is known that Bortnikov and some other influential members of the Russian elite are considering various options for removing Putin from power. In particular, poisoning, sudden illness, or other ‘accident’ is not excluded,” the post added.
“It is possible that these processes are connected with the recent ‘downpour’ of the location of Chechen units in the north of Kyiv. The information came from the Russian side. Probably, this is how the FSB leadership is trying to weaken Kadyrov’s influence. It may also be an attempt to establish cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities in advance, bypassing the current leadership of the Russian Federation,” according to the post.
It should be noted that both Russia and Ukraine have released propaganda to bolster their claims of dominance in the current war between the two countries.
Others have called for the assassination of Putin, including U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
“If he continues to be their leader, then he’s going to make you complicit with war crimes,” Graham said in an interview with Fox. “You’re a good people, you’ll never have a future, you’ll be isolated from the world, and you’ll live in abject poverty.
“So I’m hoping somebody in Russia will understand that he’s destroying Russia, and you need to take this guy out by any means possible,” Graham added.
He has tweeted: “Is there a Brutus in Russia? Is there a more successful Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military? The only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out. You would be doing your country — and the world — a great service.”
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.