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Who is Nikolai Patrushev, Putin’s possible successor described as the “worst possible option”?

The state of health of Vladimir Putin remains unknown, with several reports pointing out that the Russian president may be ‘hiding’ various pathologies. It was recently reported that Putin could undergo surgery, during which he would temporarily hand over power to Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.

According to the British press, Putin considers Patrushev “the only truly trustworthy person and friend in the power system”. That’s why he would hand over Russia’s fates to Patrushev instead of the 56-year-old prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin. But who is the Kremlin’s new strongman?

Nikolai Patrushev was born on July 11, 1951, in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg). His father was an officer in the Soviet Navy and was also a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He graduated from the Leningrad Shipbuilding Institute in 1974 and initially worked as an engineer in the institute’s shipbuilding design office. But in 1975, his life changed completely when he was recruited by the KGB. He attended intelligence and security courses at the KGB School in Minsk, and later at the KGB Higher School in Moscow (now the FSB Academy).

He became a security officer for the KGB in Leningrad and later became head of the local KGB’s anti-smuggling and anti-corruption unit. With the collapse of the Soviet Union – officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – in 1991, Patrushev continued to work in the security services. He was Minister of Security of the Republic of Karelia between 1992 and 1994. After that, he became the head of the Internal Security Directorate of the FSK in Moscow.

From there, he became deputy head of the Department of Organization and Inspection of the FSB in 1995 and later deputy head of the Civil House. He was appointed deputy director of the FSB and head of the Economic Security Directorate. In 1999, he reached the peak of his career, becoming director of the FSB, replacing his friend Vladimir Putin – the FSB is considered the successor to the Soviet KGB.

Since 2008, Patrushev has worked as secretary of the Russian Security Council and was one of the main figures behind Russia’s updated national security strategy, published in May 2021, which reads that Russia can use “strong methods”. ” to “prevent or prevent hostile actions that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation”.

Nikolai Patrushev is considered one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest confidants. Ben Noble, associate professor of Russian politics at University College London, described Patrushev as “the fiercest hawk, who thinks the West has lagged Russia for years”.

He has also been described as the “worst option” possible for Putin’s job: “he IS an absolute villain and no better than Putin. He is more cunning and more treacherous. If he comes to power, the Russians’ problems will only multiply.”

He is not a new name in the international press, especially for his overtly anti-American and anti-European statements – he recently declared that the West supports Ukraine’s neo-Nazi ideology and is willing to sacrifice every last Ukrainian to fight Russia. According to Russian political experts, Nikolai Patrushev is one of Putin’s most trusted men but also one of the most committed to the path of open conflict.

Nikolai Patrushev is the second most powerful man in Russia, immediately after Vladimir Putin, as secretary of the Russian Security Council, the body that reports directly to the president and manages internal and external security.

Source: With Agencies

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