Kremlin’s inner circle Oligarchs planning another coup to oust Putin

Putin talks to his aide Andrei Fursenko - a member of the so-called Ozeros Credit: Getty

Vladimir Putin’s inner circle are plotting to oust the tyrant to end his disastrous war in Ukraine, a former Russian officer warned.

Igor Girkin claimed that Putin’s cronies – dubbed “The Ozeros” – plan to sabotage Russian military operations in the wake of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin’s astonishing armed rebellion.

Set up in 1996, the Leningrad-based group includes some of Russia’s wealthiest and most powerful businessmen and bankers – with many climbing to top positions in the Kremlin.

Girkin – a prominent Russian military blogger – claims the loyal circle are now plotting to topple Putin to put a stop to the war in Ukraine.

Russian businessman and billionaire Vladimir Yakunin – one of Putin’s inner circle Credit: Getty

He claimed they would target Russia’s ministry of defence, the FSB and other major government departments – and replace Putin.

Prigozhin’s steaming rebellion came to an abrupt halt after he struck a deal with Putin – putting an end to a bloody 24 hours that saw Wagner forces reach within 125 miles of Moscow.

But Girkin believes Prigozhin’s mutiny was successful as it sparked a furious power struggle in the crumbling Kremlin – and the lightning mutiny exposed cracks in Putin’s increasingly weak grip on power.

At least eight Russian top brass have been detained or suspended in a mass purge as Putin’s defence chief roots out the “bad blood” in the Kremlin.

It’s thought a number of Putin’s inner circle knew about the coup before it happened.

As Putin scrambles to maintain his rule, Girkin said his powerful inner circle now want to oust him – and bring in Wagner boss Prigozhin or Sergey Kiriyenko, Putin’s chief of staff.

According to Russian outlet Meduza, Kiriyenko, 60, is already trying to position himself as a possible successor to Putin.

Girkin said: “The powers within the ruling mafia are currently being redistributed as, or close to, planned by the conspirators behind the coup.

“The ‘Shoigu-Vorobiev-Sobyanin Tower’ has lost some of its positions although not completely demolished, and part of its influence and resources ‘flows’ into a group of oligarchs.

“This group, vitally interested in ending the war ‘on any terms’ – will not let us win in any case and will lead the president to realise the need to accept defeat and transfer supreme power to a successor nominated from this group.

“In the coming months, we should expect new campaigns aimed at ‘inoculation’.”

Putin has built his entire political system around loyalty – and “The Ozeros” rise to power and wealth on the tyrant’s coat tails has raised many eyebrows over the years.

Vladimir Yakunin rose to become head of state-run Russian Railways, while Yuri Kovalchuk became the head of the successful Bank Rossiya.

And Andrei Fursenko is now a Kremlin aide.

Yakunin described “The Ozeros” as “a small group of people united by common interests and, of course, loyal to our country, wanted to do all we could for everything to turn out alright”.

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