Russian elites are expecting a serious deterioration of the "leader's" health.
During the three months of war against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned all elites against him, including those who advocated the "military operation". Today, the Kremlin is already thinking seriously about what will happen after Putin.
This is reported by the Russian publication "Meduza".
Change in mood
According to Meduza, when the war began most Kremlin and government officials did not know what to think and wondered how the Western sanctions would affect them. But in April, there was a "patriotic upsurge" and a lot of people in power publicly advocated a war until the end. Now, three months later, pessimism prevails again.
"It will not be possible to live as before, we cannot talk about development. But we can live somehow - gray imports, trade with China and India," said a source of Meduza, who is close to the government.
At the same time, Putin still doesn't see a scenario for a way out of the war with keeping his approval rating. But business and members of the government are not happy that he has unleashed a military conflict without predicting the extent of sanctions. And "hawks" in the president's entourage are dissatisfied with the pace of the "special operation".
Kremlin is not ready for mobilization
Sources close to the Putin administration note that the viewpoint of the power wing is quite simple.
"They say that since they've got involved in the operation, there's no room for weakness. We have to be tougher," they said, referring to the widespread mobilization of reservists and the war "until victory is won".
But at the same time the Kremlin is not ready to undertake mobilization. According to closed sociological surveys, Russians support the war against Ukraine, but are not ready to fight themselves or send their relatives to the front.
Putin has miscalculated
The so-called "peace party", represented by major businessmen and most officials, is unhappy with the president's actions because he is not demonstrating steps towards peace with Ukraine.
"The problems in Russia because of the war are already seen, and in mid-summer they will just pour in from different directions: transport, medicine, even agriculture. No one just thought of such a scale," explained a source close to the government.
According to him, no one in the Kremlin had calculated before the war the scenario of European countries completely refusing to import Russian gas and oil. But although the embargo is being discussed in Europe, Putin does not believe the sanctions will be implemented.
Finding a successor
Meduza's sources point out that against this backdrop, the Kremlin is increasingly discussing Russia's future after Putin.
"It's not that they want to overthrow Putin right now and a conspiracy is being prepared. But there is an understanding, or a wish, that he won't be running the state in the fairly foreseeable future," said one of the interlocutors.
Today, such successor candidates as Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitri Medvedev, and First Deputy Presidential Administration Chief Sergei Kirienko are being discussed unofficially. However, everyone in power understands that Putin may leave only if his health deteriorates seriously.