Putin on brink as ‘number of groups’ ready to seize power in Russia

Putin's mouthpiece admits questioning if Russia can beat Ukraine

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Vladimir Putin appears to be losing the war, as Ukrainian forces are gradually retaking Russian-controlled territories in their massive counteroffensive launched in late August. If Ukrainian forces keep their momentum and retake their territory, Russian businessman Mikhail Khodorkovsky claims the Russian President will lose power. And regional politicians could be the key to toppling Putin, Mr Khodorkovsky added.

Speaking to BBC Newsnight, he said: “Putin will lose power only if he’s defeated militarily.

“There are a number of groups who might seize power. 

“But I don’t think that any of them could hang on to it.

“But if we’re looking for somebody who could hold power after Putin, then we would have to look to the Russian regions.”

Vladimir Putin has been facing episodic turmoil in Russia since he unilaterally launched the invasion of Ukraine. 

In early September, Russian elected officials from St Petersburg launched a petition signed by at least 18 districts around the country to demand the Duma’s MPs impeach Putin and get him out of power. 

According to Russia’s Constitution, the State Duma can start impeachment proceedings with one-third of deputies backing the indictment on the basis of high treason or another grave crime. To effectively remove Putin from office, Russia’s lower and upper chambers must each pass the motion with two-thirds of the votes. 

The anti-Kremlin official who led the petition, Dmitry Palyuga, acknowledged to Express.co.uk that it would be difficult to sway pro-Putin MPs who have almost all unanimously backed Putin’s move to expand the war in Ukraine to the totality of the country.

If his political campaign takes off, the Russian official believes popular pressure can sway both Russian chambers’ views and bring about his ouster.

“I would say that probably people on the federal level will see other people’s reactions, and they will at some point probably decide that it’s safer for them to get rid of Putin,” Mr Palyuga said.

And since he launched a “partial” mobilisation order, Putin has faced popular unrest with protests erupting in Moscow and St Petersburg among other parts of the country.

In a last-ditch attempt to counter the irresistible Ukrainian offensive, Russian troops have carried out multiple nationwide attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure and civilians, including on the capital Kyiv.

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Kyiv authorities are now preparing more than 1,000 heating points throughout the city in case the city’s heating system falters under continued Russia attacks, Mayor Vitali Klitschko said.

At the national level, 40 percent of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been damaged by Russian missile and drone attacks, which have already briefly left large parts of the capital without power and water. 

The head of the Kyiv region, Oleksiy Kuleba, accused Russia of trying to make the Kyiv region an “outspot” and of deliberately targeting electricity power stations ahead of winter.

“They are hitting (us) directly so that there is no light in Kyiv itself,” Mr Kuleba said, adding: “There is a real threat that we may be without electricity for up to two weeks and we are already preparing for it.”

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