Vladimir Putin’s health has reportedly worsened in recent weeks, with his defense minister set to take over in the event of the Russian leader’s death.
Reports claimed Putin was suffering from cancer, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses, although his spokesman said the leaders’ health was “excellent”.
Dr Sarah Whitmore, an expert on domestic Russian politics at Oxford Brookes University, told the Mirror Initially that Mikhail Mishustin, the prime minister, would automatically take power if Putin died in office.
She then said Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu could be named Putin’s successor.
She said: “If Putin were to die suddenly of an illness, people would have to be told and some sort of succession arranged.
“According to the constitution, the Prime Minister takes over, then an election must be organized within three months.
“It is very likely that the regime around Putin would choose a trustworthy successor suited to its interests.
“Someone we know as Shoigu, he was touted as a potential successor and seen as a popular and acceptable face.
“Or it could be someone we don’t know, like Putin came along – he was nobody then.
“Who can even be more intransigent. Where there seem to be expressions of displeasure, there has tended to be criticism that Putin is not going strong enough in Ukraine and that he has been too soft.”