Has Putin chosen his successor? Vlad promotes ex-bodyguard who once saved him from a BEAR to right-hand man amid purge

Has Putin chosen his successor? Vlad promotes ex-bodyguard who once saved him from a BEAR to right-hand man amid purge
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VLADIMIR Putin has promoted his former bodyguard who once saved him from a bear while he continues to purge members of his Defence team.

The Russian leader has decided to appoint Alexei Dyumin, 51, as his new special assistant in the Kremlin, fuelling rumours he has also selected him as his successor.

Reuters

Former Federal Protective  Service official Alexei Dyumin was appointed Putin’s new aide[/caption]

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Dyumin previously served as Putin’s bodyguard during his first and second terms[/caption]

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Dyumin (left) and Yevgeny Zinichev, second from the left, pictured by Putin during George Bush’s visit in 2005[/caption]

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Alexei Dyumin told how on one occasion he saved Putin from a brown bear[/caption]

Dyumin, from Kursk, is regarded as one of Putin’s closest allies and worked as his bodyguard for his first and second terms.

Putin’s new right hand recalled how as a bodyguard he saved Putin from a bear that was about to attack in a secret presidential mountain retreat.

He said: “Naturally, I was armed, the president was upstairs.

“So the bear and I looked into each other’s eyes, and he stepped back a little.

“I opened the door and emptied the entire cartridge of my pistol under his feet.”

“I felt pity for the bear,” he added.

Dyumin secretly led a 2014 secret service and military operation to bring toppled Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from Crimea to Russia.

He has lately served as governor of the Tula region but earlier held a high position in the Federal Protective  Service (FSO) which guards Putin and other state officials including President Boris Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

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He was previously deputy head of the Main Directorate of the Army General Staff, and deputy defence minister, holding the rank of lieutenant-general.

Russian analysts said he was poised to replace Sergei Shoigu as Minister of Defence last year, who was eventually sacked earlier this week.


AIDE NUMBER 2

Vlad has created two new roles as assistants – with the second spot going to his top security henchman Nikolai Patrushev, 72, a former head of the FSB security service. 

Perhaps Putin’s closest crony, spymaster Patrushev is seen as a key architect of the war in Ukraine.

He is also viewed as the mastermind of the mysterious deaths of people seen as threats to the dictator.

For example, he is alleged to be behind the plane crash that killed Wagner mercenary army founder Yevgeny Prigozhin last year.

The plan was “put in motion” by Patrushev, according to one investigation into the explosion which downed the aircraft.

Patrushev was until this week the secretary of the Kremlin’s security council, a role he has vacated in favour of ousted defence minister Sergei Shoigu.

Another figure being groomed as a possible Putin successor is Patrushev’s banker son Dmitry, 46, recently promoted to deputy prime minister as well as his previous role as agriculture minister.

It comes amid the Russian despot’s purge, with a number of changes in his defence Ministry.

In an unexpected move, Vlad replaced his long-term Defence Minster Shoigu with “Yes man” Andrei Belousov.

The move was followed by the arrest of Russian general Lt-Gen Yuri Kuznetsov, 55, today, over “criminal charges over state secrets.”

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Kuznetsov was detained by heavily armed cops in balaclavas who smashed their way into his home using crowbars.

Another three defence ministers resigned suddenly – Sergei Tsalikov, 67, first deputy for military-technical support Alexey Kryvoruchko, 48, and deputy defence minister  Tatiana Shevtsova, 54.

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Nikolai Patrushev, 71, was appointed the tyrant’s second new aide[/caption]

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Dmitry Patrushev was recently promoted to deputy prime minister[/caption]

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