For years, the US safety institution has been wishing for Russian President Vladimir Putin to get served a cup of tea with a contact of poison. However Washington ought to be cautious what it needs for. With Putin reportedly about to go below the knife for a most cancers surgical procedure, Putin’s right-hand henchman, Nikolai Patrushev, is poised to quickly take over, and he may very well be even worse than his grasp.
Patrushev is probably the most influential particular person within the Kremlin paperwork and is the one particular person Putin trusts — to the extent he trusts anybody. The 2 share greater than a powerful skilled relationship. They’re buddies. Each Putin and Patrushev come from the identical inventory of Chekists, the time period that refers to Soviet and Russian intelligence companies identified by the Russian acronym ChK, the highly effective secret police company within the USSR. Chekists view themselves as elite warriors, devoted to defending the fatherland from its enemies.
As an Military common, Patrushev outranks Putin, who solely reached the title of colonel.Sipa USA by way of AP
Each males have a army background, are educated to make use of weapons and famed for his or her brutality. Throughout Stalin’s period, often known as “Purple Terror,” Chekists eradicated “enemies of the folks” utilizing a “particular tradecraft” — executions by a shot behind the pinnacle.
Putin and Patrushev’s friendship dates again to their KGB service, which Putin joined in 1975, one 12 months after Patrushev was recruited. Each at completely different instances additionally served as heads of the FSB, Russia’s home safety service, a successor of the KBG and a tough equal to the FBI. In 1998, Patrushev took over from Putin as Deputy Chief of Presidential Administration below Boris Yeltsin.
A 1999 bombing at Moscow house buildings killed between 200 and 300 folks and was blamed on Chechen terrorists. Some consider Patrushev and Putin ordered the explosion to encourage battle towards Chechnya. AP
As an Military common, Patrushev outranks Putin, who solely reached the title of colonel. Nonetheless, Patrushev acts as a “devoted armor-bearer and like-minded confederate” to his commander in chief, in line with a distinguished Russian tabloid, taking part in a extremely influential position within the formulation of Russia’s international coverage and safety technique. As the pinnacle of Russia’s Safety Council since 2008, Patrushev has virtually definitely influenced the nation’s fashionable army doctrine, which formally codified NATO as Russia’s high safety menace.
Patrushev additionally rivals Putin as a villain. Some consider the 2 ordered FSB officers to bomb house buildings in Moscow, killing between 200 and 300 residents in 1999, as a way to blame Chechen terrorists and provides Russia a pretext to unleash battle on Chechnya. Because of this, the recognition of then-Prime Minister Putin rose, serving to him safe the Russian presidency in March 2000.
Alexander Litvinenko died within the intensive care unit of College School Hospital, London, in 2006 after being poisoned — allegedly below the orders of Putin and Patrushev.Getty Photographs
After Alexander Litvinenko accused Putin and Patrushev of orchestrating the bombings in his e-book “FSB Detonates Russia,” he was poisoned by radioactive chemical Polonium-210, an assassination that British Supreme Courtroom Choose Robert Owen concluded was “in all probability authorized by President Putin and his Chief of FSB, Patrushev.”
Each males have possible licensed the poisonings and killings of many Russian “enemies.” As Head of the FSB, Patrushev led a counter-terrorism program calling for the “liquidation of the leaders of the Chechen separatist motion.” Patrushev dispatched FSB operatives to search out and kill Chechen fighters, together with Shamil Basayev in July 2006 and Aslan Maskhadov in March 2005.
Putin and Patrushev possible ordered the assassinations of Chechen fighters Shamil Basayev (left) and Aslan Maskhadov.
The FSB hitmen who carried out these focused killings got awards. The hitmen who have been much less profitable bought killed themselves, with Putin and Patrushev laying flowers at their funerals.
Patrushev doesn’t drink exhausting liquor, as a substitute preferring the occasional glass of white wine. He’s by no means late and doesn’t like talking with journalists, an expert behavior that comes with being a spy for 50 years. However when he does, he rigorously calibrates his phrases, extremely conscious that his speech is being analyzed by international intelligence companies. Like Putin, Patrushev is a workaholic and all the time has an opinion, which he shares along with his boss each day. Whereas Putin is a judo grasp, Patrushev is a fan of volleyball and swims one kilometer in a pool 4 days every week, to shake off fatigue.
Each avid athletes, Patrushev is a critical volleyball participant and swimmer, whereas Putin favors Judo.
Patrushev was possible one of many architects of Russia’s invasion of Crimea in 2014. He additionally helped create a sequence of top-secret army plans, together with — it’s believed — the broad operational ideas for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Like Putin, Patrushev is a rabid anti-American propagandist, who just lately accused the US of planning to drop a nuke in Ukraine after which blame Russia for it. On Wednesday, he additionally blamed the West for looking for to destroy Russia.
The connection between Patrushev and Putin dates again a long time. Throughout Soviet instances, each males served within the KGB and every was additionally appointed to steer the FSB, Russia’s inner safety equipment. AFP by way of Getty Photographs
There’s an previous Russian saying. Actually translated, it means: “Two boots make a pair.” And Putin and Patrushev match collectively completely.
Rebekah Koffler is the president of Doctrine & Technique Consulting, a former DIA intelligence officer, and the creator of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America.” She additionally wrote the foreword for “Zelensky: The Unlikely Ukrainian Hero Who Defied Putin and United the World.”