Vladimir Putin could be assassinated with a ‘f***ing hammer to the head’ in a secret plot by his own inner circle, a former CIA chief has claimed.
Daniel Hoffman, an ex-senior officer who served as Moscow station chief, said the Russian leader’s comrades could try to oust him due to the botched invasion of Ukraine.
The intelligence officer believes any attempt to overthrow the strongman will be swift and potentially deadly.
He told the Daily Beast: ‘These guys that are going to do it are going to be so secret about it, so that Putin doesn’t find them and kill them first. It’ll happen all of a sudden. And he’ll be dead.
‘Nobody’s gonna ask, “Hey Vladimir, would you like to leave?” No. It’s a f***ing hammer to the head and he’s dead.
‘Or it’s time to go to the sanatorium. They schwack him for it. That’s what they’ll do.’
Vladimir Putin could be assassinated with a ‘f***ing hammer to the head’ in a secret plot by his own inner circle, former CIA chief Daniel Hoffman (left) has claimed
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev (pictured alongside Putin in 2015) is among those tipped for the top job
Hoffman speculated that the three key figures who could be behind a plot are defence minister Sergei Shoigu, head of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, and the director of the FSB Alexander Bortnikov.
He says any of those three are likely to have leadership ambitions after Putin and would keep a watchful eye over any potential rebellion.
The hammer to the head reference brings to mind the assassination of Soviet revolutionary Leon Trotsky, who was killed on the orders of Joseph Stalin by an ice pick to the head.
Meanwhile, another spy chief has claimed an assassination attempt may not be necessary because Putin ‘doesn’t have a long life ahead of him’ due to his ill health.
The director of Russia’s FSB intelligence agency Alexander Bortnikov (pictured) could be eyeing up Putin’s job, it has been claimed
Defence minister Sergei Shoigu (pictured with Putin last week) has been a key figure in the Ukraine war
Major General Kyrylo Budanov said Kyiv spies who infiltrated the Kremlin made the claims based on ‘human intelligence’.
Mr Budanov added: ‘Putin doesn’t have a long life ahead of him’, USA Today reported.
Putin’s health has been the subject of intense speculation for months, escalating further after he was pictured gripping a table during a meeting with defence minister Sergei Shoigu.
And earlier this month, the 69-year-old president’s legs appeared to buckle during a speech in Moscow.
Putin, 70, swayed back and forth as filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov accepted a prize this month
The president was attending an awards ceremony at the Kremlin when he looked unsteady on his feet.
Putin swayed back and forth before his speech as Russian filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov accepted a prize.
It came just days after a Kremlin insider claimed Putin had been advised by doctors not to make any ‘lengthy’ public appearances, having fallen ill amid recent discussions with his military chiefs.
Maj. Gen. Budanov told USA Today his agency expects Putin to die within just two years
The Russian President felt ‘a sharp sickness, weakness and dizziness’, while getting up from his desk following a recent video conference with advisers and military leaders, Telegram channel General SVR reported.
Putin’s poor posture and seemingly bloated face and neck sparked speculation about the leader’s health, which is said to have ailed since the invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin leader was alleged in April to be in need of an urgent cancer operation.
Putin also reportedly suffers from Parkinson’s and ‘schizophrenic symptoms’, according to self-styled ‘Kremlin insiders’.
They wrote via Telegram channel General SVR: ‘The Russian President Vladimir Putin has oncology, and the latest problems identified during [his latest] examination are associated with this disease.’
Meanwhile King’s College London fellow Michael Clarke told Sky News this month: ‘On 7 October he will be 70. He is known to hit the Botox quite heavily, I always say that he’s trying to embalm himself while he’s still alive – he does take a lot of Botox.
Putin’s legs buckled during a speech in Moscow, adding to growing rumours of his health woes
A bloated Putin was seen gripping a table whilst slouching in his chair during a televised meeting with his defence minister Sergei Shoigu months ago, sparking intense speculation
‘He moves around with doctors, there’s known to be a little team of doctors who are never far away, and it’s said that he leaves meetings at frequent intervals to go and consult with somebody.
‘I suspect that he’s only a hypochondriac, to be honest.
‘If he is ill, or becomes ill, that would be one way out for Russia to say that the president has stepped down and the war will now be prosecuted by Nikolai Patrushev – who’s every bit as nasty as he is.’
An FSB officer also described the Russian president’s condition as a ‘severe form of rapidly progressing cancer’, as speculation ramped up that Putin was suffering with some form of serious illness amid the invasion of Ukraine.
Oliver Stone, an American director who spent two years interviewing Putin for a documentary series, said the Russian leader had cancer but beat it
Vladimir Putin’s five medically-related disappearances
November 2012: Business trips and long-distance flights of the president are canceled, some of Putin’s meetings shown by the Kremlin turn out to be ‘canned food’
March 5 – 15, 2015: Putin does not appear in public, all meetings are ‘canned’ – in other words pre-recorded events were shown with the pretence they were in real time
August 9-16, 2017: The President, with journalists, visits Abkhazia and Sochi, and then for a week the Kremlin publishes only ‘canned food’
February 2018: In the midst of an election campaign, the president cancels public events. Peskov admits that the head of state ‘had a cold’
September 13-29, 2021: Putin goes into ‘self-isolation’, all events are held via video link
Talk of the Russian leader’s terminal illness emerged as part of a secret message from the Russian agent to fugitive and former FSB agent Boris Karpichkov.
The message warned Putin is refusing to wear glasses over fears it would admit a form of weakness, and he is now lashing out at his subordinates with ‘uncontrolled fury’.
Other spooks have also hinted at the strongman’s poor health condition, warning he was unable to maintain concentration for long periods of time without taking breaks ‘for treatment’.
Christopher Steele, a former MI6 Russia desk officer explained Putin was constantly monitored and accompanied by a team of doctors, as rumours of a new Kremlin succession plan continue to swirl.
Whispers about Putin’s health began at least two years ago when he was said to be suffering both Parkinson’s and cancer, but have received renewed attention in the wake of his invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin has not commented on the latest allegations of Putin’s ill-health, but regularly denies he is suffering any kind of difficulties.
General SVR wrote last week: ‘On the night of Monday May 16 to Tuesday May 17, Russian President Vladimir Putin underwent a surgical operation.
‘The fact that Putin should be operated on as soon as possible was insisted upon by his attending physicians.
‘According to the doctors involved in the treatment of the President, the operation was successful.