Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has irrevocably damaged the country’s standing in the international world order, leaving it financially crippled, and Vladimir Putin a pariah among his fellow European leaders. Western intelligence agencies have explained his sudden and severe move as the result of illness, with US, UK and Ukrainian reports blaming Putin’s actions on desperation caused by terminal disease. He will have to move on eventually, and Express.co.uk has looked over the list of high-profile Russian officials who could replace him.
Mishustin has served as Putin’s right hand, and Russia’s Prime Minister, since 2020.
If Putin died in office, he would shoulder responsibility for running the country during his absence by law.
Whether he would assume the mantle permanently would depend on the other candidates vying for the top spot, as he wouldn’t be able to leave his position vacant.
READ MORE: Desperate Putin deploying ‘poorly trained conscripts’ as losses mount
Although thought to have not yet enlisted in Putin’s inner circle, Sergey Sobyanin shares a great deal with the Russian premier.
As the mayor of Moscow, Sobyanin has proven a valuable asset for Putin at a city level, helping ally his national policy to Muscovites.
His rule saw police allowed to break up protests against the invasion of Ukraine and ban pride events, helping extend Russia’s crackdown on LGBT rights.
Before Mishustin came Medvedev, who served alongside Putin as Russia’s Prime Minister between 2008 and 2020.
Once his two terms finished, he exchanged his role for one on the Security Council of Russia, where he serves as deputy chairman.
The council acts as the President’s constitutional body, meaning Medvedev is already in lock-step with Putin’s policies, and unlike Mishustin, he won’t leave an arm of Russia’s legislature vacant should he choose to leave.
In the highly unlikely scenario that Putin’s allies are rooted out, Putin’s greatest adversary could take the top spot.
Alexei Navalny was a Russian Opposition Coordination Council leader and currently serves as chief of the Russia of the Future party.
He has spent decades campaigning against corruption in his country and once nearly unseated Sobyanin.
But he was recently imprisoned on charges of embezzlement and contempt of court, following what Amnesty International described as a “sham trial” earlier this year.