Speculation about Putin's fate is rife, with Ukraine's intelligence agency now claiming that Russian elites are planning to remove Vladimir Putin as Russia's President, reports news.com.au
According to the news outlet, the Defence Intelligence of Ukraine (DIU) is citing methods like “poisoning, sudden disease and accident” as the methods the country’s business and political establishment could install the director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) Alexander Bortnikov in the top position.
“Their goal is to remove Putin from power as soon as possible and restore economic ties with the West, destroyed due to the war in Ukraine,” the agency wrote on its official Facebook page.
“It is known that Bortnikov and some other influential representatives of the Russian elite are considering various options to remove Putin from power. In particular, poisoning, sudden disease, or any other ‘coincidence’ is not excluded.”
The Defence Intelligence of Ukraine also cites Russia’s military failures as a potential reason for Mr Putin’s ousting.
WHO IS ALEXANDER BORTNIKOV?
Alexander Vasilyevich Bortnikov is a Russian intelligence officer who has served as Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) since May 12, 2008. He is among the most powerful members of the Siloviki, and considered part of president Vladimir Putin's inner circle.
Bortnikov was born in Perm, Russian SFSR, in 1951. He graduated from the Leningrad Institute of Railway Engineers in 1973, and joined the Soviet Committee for State Security (KGB) in 1975. He spent the next 28 years working for the KGB, its interim successor the Federal Counterintelligence Service (FSK), and ultimately the FSB, based in Saint Petersburg (previously Leningrad) for the entire period. According to The Times of London, Bortnikov and Vladimir Putin first met while both stationed in Leningrad during the 1970s. In June 2003, Bortnikov became Chief of the Saint Petersburg city and Leningrad Oblast FSB Directorate. On February 24, 2004 he was moved to Moscow and made chief of the Economic Security Service of the FSB, a deputy director within the agency.
On 12 May 2008, he was appointed Director of the FSB by president Dmitry Medvedev, some security analysts believed the two to be personally close. His tenure as FSB director has seen the agency return to the "punishing sword" once ascribed to the Cheka.
He is also a member of the board of directors of Sovkomflot, Russia's largest shipping company and hydrocarbon transporter.
In February 2015, at the invitation of the United States, Bortnikov led a Russian delegation to a Washington, D.C. summit on countering violent extremism. He flew to the United States debuting a new one-of-a-kind FSB operated Tupolev Tu-214VPU airborne command post.
On January 27-28, 2018, Bortnikov again visited the United States on a highly unusual trip together with the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Sergey Naryshkin, and the head of military intelligence of the Russian Forces (GRU), Igor Korobov. The three met in Washington with CIA director Mike Pompeo, and according to press releases from the CIA, reportedly discussed the threat posed by Islamic State fighters returning from Syria to Russia and Central Asia following interventions in the Syrian Civil War by a U.S.-led coalition and separately by Russia.