Home World Putin's government rocked by 'serious instability' as Kremlin on brink of collapse

Putin's government rocked by 'serious instability' as Kremlin on brink of collapse

Vladimir Putin’s cabinet reshuffle has exposed serious instabilities within the Kremlin, according to a former senior UK intelligence official.

The Russian President unleashed a purge of his government over the weekend, removing some of his closest and most influential allies.

In a series of ruthless moves that shocked Russia’s political establishment, Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu was sacked, after days of fevered speculation.

The former Defence Minister, once seen as a successor to Putin, had come under intense pressure and criticism over his handling of the war.

Russia’s army has struggled to take territory and lost tens of thousands of soldiers, as well as suffering significant battlefield defeats in just over two years of fighting.

Shoigu’s handling of the war prompted Yevgeny Prigozhin – head of the Wagner militia – to launch his ill-fated revolt last summer.

However perhaps the most significant move was the removal of Nikolai Patrushev from his position as secretary of the Russian Security council.

A former FSB head, Patrushev was believed to be one of Putin’s most trusted senior lieutenants.

His sacking was described as “astonishing” by a former MI6 intelligence officer.

Christopher Steele told Sky News: “It’s important to understand that he’s been one of Putin’s closest allies, former head of the FSB and so on for many years.

“And he was rated by people to be probably the second most powerful man in Russia after Putin himself. I think what this indicates is not just a reshuffle along normal governmental lines.

“It’s really quite serious instability right in the heart of this regime.”

He added that the timing of the reshuffle was clearly not ideal given the launch of a new military offensive by Putin’s army and that this indicated something much deeper was going on.

Mr Patrushev’s new position in the government will be announced in the coming days, according to the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Ilya Ponomarev, a leading Russian opposition activist, told the Express that Putin had sought to soften the blow to Patrushev by promoting his eldest son Dmitry to the position of Deputy Prime Minister.


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