Major-General Alexander Kurenov was nominated to high government office today, making him the sixth of Putin’s bodyguards to be appointed to this rank so far. Speaking about Mr Kurenov’s appointment, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said: “Putin knows him well personally. And the choice means that, according to the head of the state, Kurenkov’s personal, service, and professional qualities will allow him to serve in this function.”
This comes as Putin is facing increasing threats to his leadership from within Russia.
According to Meduza, an independent news website based in Latvia, there is a growing sense of disillusionment with Putin from both pro and anti-war members of the Russian elite.
Sources close to the Kremlin told the outlet that the pro-war faction is reportedly frustrated with the lack of progress, while business elites are unhappy at the scale of the crippling sanctions.
The outlet reported that a future without Putin is “increasingly being discussed”.
Meanwhile, conversations about potential successors are reportedly taking place “behind the scenes in the Kremlin”.
Yevgeny Zinichev, the previous emergencies minister, was also a former bodyguard to Putin.
He died after falling down a 90ft waterfall in September in mysterious circumstances.
Official records say Mr Zinichev died while trying to “save a man” at the Kitabo-Oron waterfall.
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On Monday, the UK Defence Ministry (MoD) announced that as many as 15,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in Ukraine since the invasion on February 24 2022.
This is the same number of soldiers that were killed in the Afghanistan war, which lasted for nine years.
The MoD said: “In the first three months of its ‘special military operation’, Russia has likely suffered a similar death toll to that experienced by the Soviet Union during its nine-year war in Afghanistan.
“A combination of poor low-level tactics, limited air cover, a lack of flexibility and a command approach which is prepared to reinforce failure and repeat mistakes has led to this high casualty rate.”
It added: “The Russian public has, in the past, proven sensitive to casualties suffered during wars of choice.
“As casualties suffered in Ukraine continue to rise they will become more apparent, and public dissatisfaction with the war and a willingness to voice it may grow.”