Reign of Putin OVER? 'Health problems to force Russian president to stand down NEXT YEAR'
VLADIMIR Putin could be forced to quit the Kremlin next year because of his worsening health, an insider has claimed.
The Russian president - a former KGB agent who prides himself on his physical fitness - is considering standing down in 2017 because of "certain circumstances".
Political analyst Valery Solovey, a professor at Moscow State Institute of Foreign Affairs, gave the vague prediction that Mr Putin would quietly slip out of the public limelight in the next 12 months.
The Kremlin expert hinted that ongoing medical complaints may be behind the shock move.
“Let me stress once again: this information is not absolutely reliable. Still, it should be considered.”
Mr Solovey added: “As you see, this hypothetical situation is very nervy from the point of view of Russian policy.”
Mr Solovey later took to social media to confirm his first interview was based on facts.
He said: “Before the end of the year, the respected audience will get confirmation of everything mentioned in the much talked-about interview.”
Mr Putin, 63, has been in power as either president or prime minister of Russia since 2000.
Alexei Dyumin, a former commander of the Russian army’s Special Operations Forces, also plays as goalkeeper on the president’s ice hockey team.
The 43-year-old is rumoured to be a president-in-waiting after securing an appointment as governor of strategically important Tula region - an area larger than Wales.
Mr Dyumin is credited in Moscow with playing a pivotal role in seizing Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Late last year the little-known Kremlin favourite was made deputy defence minister under Putin's close ally Sergey Shoygu.
His meteoric rise is seen as an attempt by the incumbent president to boost Mr Dyumin’s credentials ahead of him running for the top job when Putin stands down.
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