Media reports speculate Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing his ex-bodyguard and military hero, as his heir apparent.
The man for the hot seat is Alexei Dyumin, the governor of Tula region, who had reportedly won many military laurels in the past. The Mail Online reported that the 43-year-old is also a former bodyguard and Putin’s trusted aide-de-camp. According to the report, Dyumin was the commander of the Special Operations Forces of the Russian Army which played a primary role in seizing Crimea from Ukraine.
Putin had awarded him the Hero of Russia honor for courage.
The report went on to say that he was made the deputy defense minister two months ago after which he was made the governor of the Tula region.
Dyumin’s sudden and super-speed movement to become governor of strategically important Tula is perceived as a act by Putin to give him political experience running a region ahead of another skyhigh promotion, the report said.
Veteran TV and radio presenter Sergey Dorenko stated that he believed Dyumin was being groomed as eventual successor to Putin.
“I place my bet on Dyumin, without doubt,” said Dorenko, a seasoned observer of the Kremlin.
Putin put Dyumin ahead of two other potential candidates to succeed him – premier Dmitry Medvedev, 50, who served as president for four years between 2008 and 2012, and Andrey Vorobyov, 45, currently governor of Moscow region.
Dyumin has served Putin at personally, travelling with him in his official car as aide-de-camp.