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The race to overthrow Putin and take his Kremlin crown has begun, says former Russian defence minister

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Putin Could Fall If Russia Is Defeated In Ukraine, Ex-Diplomat Says 

The race to overthrow Vladimir Putin and take the Kremlin crown is underway, says Russian war analyst and former loyalist Igor Strelkov.

He said various figures in the regime are already tussling for the top job.

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Wagner private army head Yevgeny Prigozhin is one of those involved, he said.

Strelkov – who was key to Putin’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 – is now a staunch critic of the Kremlin’s war strategy in Ukraine.

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An immediate mass mobilisation of half a million more men is the only way for the Russian president to avoid defeat and humiliation in the war in Ukraine, he claims.

He claimed that Putin crony Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner private army, is already going head to head with allies of the weakening defence minister Sergei Shoigu.

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Others believe security allies of ex-FSB head Nikolai Patrushev – secretary of the powerful security council – are more likely to pull the trigger on Putin in a bid to save the elite ruling circle if the war continues to go wrong.

Putin's War In Ukraine Will Only End With Palace Coup, Expert Warns
Igor Strelkov said the fight for the ‘political Olympus’ has already begun amongst those surrounding the Russian president, pictured yesterday

Some claim the security bloc is lining up his son agriculture minister Dmitry Patrushev as the frontman for a coup replacing Putin if he is forced out by war setbacks or ill health.

Strelkov sees Prigozhin, once Putin’s ‘chef’ in charge of Kremlin banquets, as aiming to be a major political force in his own right and there is evidence he is now securing prominent coverage in the state media.

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‘The grouping of Yevgeny Prigozhin stands against groupings which includes Sergei Shoigu,’ said Strelkov the former defence minister of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic.’They have already started the fight. They are not fighting over the number of shells…’Now we are speaking about what comes after Putin. Will it happen in one year or two? We don’t know.

The fight at the top of the Kremlin focuses on Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of the Wagner private army. Pictured: Putin and Prigozhin

‘But factually the fight for the political Olympus has begun between the groupings that surround Putin to the extent that even we can notice it.’

He added that Prigozhin wants to become a ‘political actor’ and ‘is clearly pumping up his authority, including in public’.

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Strelkov warned: ‘His latest appearances in the media clearly showed that now he positions himself not just like a war commander, but as a public and a political figure.

Predicting another wave of mobilisation, he added: ‘They will be forced to have it – a second and then perhaps a third wave. To win in Ukraine we would need about half a million more soldiers.’

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Telegram channel General SVR claimed Putin has approved plans to call up two million for mobilisation this year, with some going to the front as cannon fodder, and others working in military-linked industries.

The first to be called will be men in debt to their ex-wives over alimony payments, it claimed.

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Such a move for mass mobilisation could come next month.

Strelkov has key support among army and secret services commanders below the top level.

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He has so far avoided arrest despite biting criticisms of Putin and his leading henchmen.

Strelkov, 52, a staunchly pro-war blogger, was among three convicted by a Dutch court last year for the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet in which all 298 on board were killed in 2014.

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