Former M16 chief Sir Richard Dearlove has predicted that Vladimir Putin will end up in a sanatorium, a medical facility for long term illness, as a way to avoid a coup. He estimates that the Russian President will lose power by 2023.
Putin will 'be gone by 2023'
Sir Richard Dearlove said on the One Decision podcast, for which he is a co-host:
I’m really going to stick my neck out. I think he'll be gone by 2023 - but probably into the sanatorium, from which he will not emerge as the leader of Russia.
I'm not saying he won't emerge from the sanatorium, but he won't emerge as the leader of Russia any longer.
That's a way to sort of move things on without a coup.
'Signs of a shift'?
Dearlove is the former head of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service when the Soviet Union collapsed. He said that while he doesn’t think ‘public opinion is really shifting yet in Russia yet’, he believes that ‘expert opinion may be beginning to shift.’
Dearlove was particularly ‘struck’ in regards to Putin's reaction to Sweden and Finland's plans to join NATO:
Putin had said as long as NATO didn't open military bases in Sweden and Finland, them joining NATO was not going to be a problem for Russia.... I think that there might be the signs of a shift.
FormerNato supreme allied commander for Europe, Admiral James Stavridis, agreed with Dearlove, telling the podcast:
If you want to steer the ship of Russia, you've got to do it with the hands of Putin on the wheel. Putin's health may be the most determinative path to the change in the course of the Russian ship.
Like others, Dearlove believes the secretary of the Security Council of Russia,Nikolai Patrushev, will take charge in Putin's absence:
If my thesis were fulfilled and Putin did disappear into a sanatorium, I think he’s the likely stand-in. 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.