Russian President Vladimir Putin will land in a long-term medical facility by next year, a former MI6 chief predicted amid rumors that the Kremlin strongman’s health is failing.
Sir Richard Dearlove said on the One Decision podcast that Putin, 69, could be sent to a sanatorium as part of an exit strategy amid Russia’s struggling effort to invade neighboring Ukraine.
“I’m really going to stick my neck out. I think he’ll be gone by 2023,” Dearlove, a co-host of the podcast, forecasted. “Probably into the sanatorium, from which he will not emerge as leader of Russia.”
Putting Putin to the medical facility would be the “elegant” alternative to a coup, said Dearlove, who was head of the British Secret Intelligence Service from 1999 until 2004.
He cautioned that Moscow has no succession plan if Putin departs, but believes secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nikolai Patrushev would take control.
“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 this scenario probably becomes permanent. I mean, you know there is no succession in the Russian leadership. They certainly don’t succession plan.”
Questions about Putin’s health have swirled since Russia’s war in Ukraine broke out.
Last week the Putin appeared to cling to a table days after there was speculation that he had undergone surgery to remove fluid from his abdomen.
An oligarch close to the Kremlin claimed Putin is “very ill with blood cancer, according to a secret recording obtained by New Lines Magazine.
Claims about Putin’s health have not been verified.
American film director Oliver Stone said on the Lex Fridman podcast recently that Putin had cancer around the time Stone interviewed him multiple times between 2015 to 2017.
“Remember this, Mr. Putin has had this cancer and I think he’s licked it,” Stone said on the podcast.