Putin could be replaced by new lunatic leader wanting to nuke the West

There’s been widespread speculation that Russian leader Vladimir Putin could be replaced – either because of ill-health or simply because the war on Ukraine has gone so badly.

But Kremlin experts believe Putin’s replacement could represent even more of a threat to the West with a number of potential successors who are "just as cruel" .

Daniel Hoffman, the former boss of the CIA’s Moscow station, has said that a plot to oust Putin could already be in progress.

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And if a Kremlin coup comes, it could come completely out of the blue: “Nobody’s gonna ask, ‘Hey Vladimir, would you like to leave?’

“No,” said Hoffman. “It’s a f**king hammer to the head and he’s dead. They schwack him for it. That’s what they’ll do.”

The three most likely replacements for Putin, experts say, are Sergey Glazyev, Putin's top economic adviser; Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council; and Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia ’s Counter-Espionage agency the FSB.

But there could be several others waiting in the wings claims Olga Lautman, Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington DC, as she told The Sun "for every Putin, there are 100 others waiting in the wings who could be just as cruel”.

Glazyev represents a bigger threat than Putin, according to Lautman. She says he’s a "lunatic", who has suggested "nuking the whole West” more than once.

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Glazyev dreams of destroying NATO, she says, and is "more mentally unstable and fascist than Putin”.

Mikhail Svetov, an opponent of Putin’s who now lives in exile in Panama, warns "once Putin is gone, the real radicals are coming”.

He adds that there’s as much danger of a civil war within Russia as a total war on the West, and Ukraine will prove to be the catalyst.

"As there won't be a clear victory in Ukraine,” he says, “it will ignite resentment that be used by those who take over to fight and gain a 'proper' victory”.

While many in the West assume that "once [Putin] has gone, everything will change,” Svetov says, whoever is in charge Russia will represent a major threat to the West for decades to come.

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