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Vladimir Putin's desperate reign could soon be ended could by his own shadowy generals and KGB officials, it has been claimed.
The Russian President, who has survived many assassination attempts, is said to be "bracing for a coup" as powerful groups close to the despot are supposedly planning to remove him.
According to various sources and media, the plan would be to oust Putin to end the bloody war in Ukraine as top individuals are increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress, The Mirror reports.
Andrei Soldatov, a Russian security expert at The Center for European Policy Analysis, said: "This is the very first time the siloviki are putting distance between themselves and the president which opens up all sorts of possibilities.
"The Russian President has been bracing for a coup for some weeks as has faced fierce criticism over his 'special operation' in Ukraine and he has purged around 150 of his spies over the constant failures."
The silovarchs are a particular group of the Russian power elite that rose to the top through business success in the 1990s. They are the meeting point of state and business power.
Professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles, Daniel Treisman coined the term in 2006 with it being used as an umbrella for a particular group of powerful elites.
The word itself is a combination of siloviki and oligarch. Siloviki translates as “force of the people”, and includes top dogs in the security services and law enforcement.
Treisman claimed that the oligarchs themselves don’t hold huge amounts of political influence in Russia and it is this hybrid group, the silovarchs, who are the real concentration of power and influence.
An analyst at the security intelligence firm Dragonfly, Hugo Crosthwaite, told Insider that the siloviki are in effect part of the inner circle of Putin.
Putin himself is of course a siloviki as a former member of the KGB, which is now the FSB.
It makes sense then that he has surrounded himself with such people.
Crosthwaite said: "I think the important point with siloviki is that they are part and partial of President Putin's regime and not a separate group aside from it.
"Siloviki are ultimately closer to the president than oligarchs are."
It is thought that a lot of the silovarchs are former top togs at organisations like the KGB.
The CEO of oil company Rosneft, Igor Sechin, has been said to be a leading voice in the ear of the president. He is a former military interpreter, serving in Angola and Mozambique in the mid-80s.
The group then, are former FSB chiefs who are now active in Russian politics, with members from the group now said to be pushing hard to replace Putin.
These individuals wield a lot of their power by holding down top jobs in big companies or being on boards.
They are said to see themselves as tasked with fixing what oligarchs break.
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- Russia Ukraine war
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