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Who Will Become The President of Russia After Vladimir Putin?

New Lines magazine cited a Russian oligarch - whose identity they did not reveal - who while speaking to a venture capitalist in March revealed that Putin was 'very ill with blood cancer'.

Who Will Become The President of Russia After Vladimir Putin?

Sentinel Digital Desk

MOSCOW: The race to become the next Russian president has already begun.

However, the constitutional changes Vladimir Putin announced raised more questions than they answered, but they suggest he will have to choose someone to replace him when his term in the presidency ends in 2024.

With this, the news of Vladimir Putin's illness and receiving extensive treatment and care was revealed by New Lines magazine.

The magazine cited a Russian oligarch - whose identity they did not reveal - who while speaking to a venture capitalist in March revealed that Putin was 'very ill with blood cancer'.

The proposed overhaul, now making its way through the Kremlin-loyal parliament, will bar Putin from remaining in power after 2024 and close the loophole that allowed him to return to the presidency after a brief stint as prime minister from 2008 to 2012.

Putin is widely expected to take up the position of chairman of the state council — a presidential advisory board that will be enshrined in the constitution and endowed with ill-defined powers to "determine the main directions of domestic, foreign and socio-economic policy." That would allow him to keep a finger on the wheel of state while stepping back from the daily driving.

Guessing at who Putin will choose to elevate is fraught with uncertainty. The 67-year-old Russian leader is known for keeping his options open and leaving decisions until the last minute. He will be looking for someone strong enough to keep tight control of the world's biggest country, but loyal enough to ensure his security and that of his allies.

Privately, the Russian leader has almost certainly narrowed down his choices, said Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a sociologist who has been studying the Russian elite for decades. "The selection of people is already defined … These people are now in key positions."

Here's who Putin may be considering as a successor.

Mikhail Mishustin

Mishustin, known for digitizing the tax system, sits on the boards of the CSKA Moscow hockey team and the national federation of hockey, a sport that has become a kind of networking tool for Russia's rich and powerful, much like golf is in the United States. He's gotten to know Putin personally while playing with him in the Night Hockey League of top officials and businessmen.

At age 53, Mishustin is in the prime of his career. He's also well placed to bridge the gap between the heads of Russia's powerful security agencies (known as siloviki) and its horde of bureaucrats, since the tax agency is involved in both paperwork and enforcing regulations, said analyst Alexander Baunov. As an "intelligent silovik in civilian clothing," Baunov added, Mishustin resembles Putin himself.

Sergei Sobyanin

What caught analysts' eye is that the other five are connected to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, which suggests that the 61-year-old is also a candidate for the role of Putin's successor.

The former governor of the Tyumen province has long been viewed as one of the most influential men in the country. Though technically only a mayor, he is considered a politician of national standing and was head of Putin's administration from 2005 to 2008, after which he followed his patron into the government, becoming a deputy prime minister.

Sergei Shoigu

The only political figure nearly as popular as Putin is the 64-year-old defence minister, whom Russians have ranked as the country's greatest military leader after World War II General Georgy Zhukov.

Shoigu rose from lowly beginnings as a construction engineer in the far-flung Tuva region to become a Communist Party functionary and deputy head of the national construction committee. After the collapse of the USSR, he took a lead role in keeping rebellious regions in Moscow's orbit during several conflicts in the Caucasus.


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