First Coup, Now the Madhouse? Ex-MI6 Head Claims Putin Will End Up in Sanatorium, Lose Power by 2023

© Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov / Go to the photo bankMay 23, 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko.
May 23, 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.05.2022
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Recently, numerous Western media outlets and especially Ukrainian officials have been speculating about the Russian president's health, claiming that he is in the terminal stages of an unknown serious illness and that Putin will be gone any day now. The former chief of British intelligence has since decided to insert his two cents on the topic.
A former MI6 director has claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin will end up in a long-term medical institution by next year as rumors that the president's health has deteriorated continue to circulate.
In an episode of the "One Decision" podcast, Richard Dearlove suggested that Putin, 69, will be transferred to a sanatorium as part of an exit strategy for Russia's elites.

"I’m really going to stick my neck out. I think he’ll be gone by 2023," Dearlove, a co-host of the podcast who headed the MI6 from 1999 to 2004, claimed. "Probably into the sanatorium, from which he will not emerge as leader of Russia."

According to Dearlove, putting Putin in a medical facility would be an "elegant" alternative to a coup. He further claimed that if Putin steps down, Moscow has no succession plan in place, but that Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev will allegedly take over.
"If my thesis were fulfilled and Putin did disappear into a sanatorium, I think he’s the likely stand-in," Dearlove said. "And of course the stand-in [in] this scenario probably becomes permanent. I mean, you know there is no succession in the Russian leadership. They certainly don’t succession-plan."
According to the Russian Constitution, in all cases when the president of Russia is unable to fulfill his duties during the incumbent term, they are temporarily performed by the prime minister of the government of the Russian Federation, who since January 2020 is Mikhail Mishustin.
Russian President Vladimir Putin holds a video conference meeting with graduates of the Management Personnel Pool programme - Sputnik International, 1920, 06.11.2020
Here We Go Again: Parkinson's, Cancer & Other Bizarre Media Allegations About Putin's Health
Rumors about Putin's health have recently been tied to implausible indirect signs, such as the fact that Putin allegedly grabs the table with his right hand when receiving officials and guests.
However, as can be seen on numerous photos and videos of the Russian president, for many years he puts his right hand on the table in his office in the Kremlin, while he also does not "grab" other tables at all when he works in other offices.
The Russian authorities have categorically rejected rumors of the president's poor health, urging all doubters to watch Putin themselves, not through edited videos, in order to assess his condition independently.
Earlier this month, in an interview with an Italian TV network, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov suggested asking foreign leaders who have met with Putin recently whether the Russian president looks ill.
He also recalled the visit of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who met with Putin in person and never mentioned health problems after. "I think you'll understand what I'm talking about," Lavrov concluded.
The meeting took place shortly before the interview.
Earlier, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who met with Putin in Sochi and appeared to have had a friendly chat, said that Putin is in "better shape than ever." Lukashenko suggested that reports of Putin's alleged health problems are rumors that are spread by Western countries in order to undermine the credibility of the Russian head of state.
© Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov / Go to the photo bankMay 23, 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (right) during a meeting.
May 23, 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (right) during a meeting. - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.05.2022
May 23, 2022. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (right) during a meeting.
According to a recent poll conducted by the Moscow-based Public Opinion Foundation (FOM), up to 78% of Russian citizens trust Putin.
According to the survey, 78% of the respondents indicated that they trusted Putin, 13% did not trust the president and 9% were unable to give a definitive answer. The poll also demonstrated that 79% of those surveyed were positive about the president's performance in office, with 11% expressing the opposite opinion and 10% saying they were unsure.

FOM surveyed 1,500 respondents aged over 18 in 104 cities, towns and villages of 53 Russian regions between April 29 and May 1 via telephone interviews. The margin of error does not exceed 2.5%.
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