Putin’s Cabinet Reshuffle Props Up Potential Successors – Newsweek

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Vladimir Putin‘s shake-up of senior officials has propped up individuals who have been widely touted as potential successors to the Russian president, the longest-serving leader in the Kremlin since Joseph Stalin.

As part of his ongoing post-inaugural government reshuffle on Tuesday, Putin appointed as Kremlin aides Nikolai Patrushev, 72, a former director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), as well as Aleksey Dyumin, 51, a former Kremlin security agent and governor of the Tula region.

Putin was sworn in to begin his fifth term in a lavish inauguration ceremony in Moscow on May 7. His term will expire in 2030, and under constitutional changes made prior to the war in Ukraine, he may remain in power until 2036.

While Patrushev was demoted from his 16-year stint as Russian Security Council Secretary, his 46-year-old son, Dmitry, was promoted to deputy prime minister overseeing the agricultural sector.

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Aleksey Dyumin and Vladimir Putin at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia, on June,5, 2019. Putin has reshuffled his government.
Aleksey Dyumin and Vladimir Putin at the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia, on June,5, 2019. Putin has reshuffled his government.
Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

All three have previously been named as potential successors to Putin.

Newsweek contacted Russia’s foreign ministry for comment.

In October 2022, independent Russian outlet Meduza reported that Kremlin insiders were privately discussing a list of potential successors in the event Putin were ousted over the ongoing war in Ukraine. This list included Nikolai and Dmitry Patrushev.

Agentstvo, a Russian investigative site launched in 2021, reported on Tuesday that Dyumin is regularly named by political scientists one of the main contenders to succeed Putin.

Born in Kursk, in western Russia, Dyumin is a former agent of the Federal Guard Service (FSO), which provides security for the president and other state officials. He was appointed as governor of Tula region by Putin in February 2016.

Dyumin served in Putin’s guard when he was president from 2000 to 2008 as well as when Putin headed the government from 2008 to 2012.

Matthew Sussex, an adjunct associate professor at the Griffith Asia Institute, said on X—formerly known as Twitter—that the recent reshuffle could be “a promotion for both Patrushev and Dyumin.”

“And, given Putin’s form, it could encourage more direct competition between two individuals often floated as potential successors,” he wrote.

Julian Waller, a research analyst at nonprofit organisation CNA, said on X that making Dyumin a presidential aide is a “serious promotion.”

“Dyumin is easy. The Governor of Tula moving to the Kremlin [with] a military-industrial complex oversight portfolio is all the signal you need that he is ‘in favor.’ Dyumin has been the talk of the town all year, so this tracks well. Good positioning for the future,” wrote Waller.

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