Will Putin meet Gaddafi's fate? Russia president fears being killed by mob as pro-Alexei Navalny protests rage

Russian-American historian Yuri Felshtinsky feels the ongoing unrest has rattled the Kremlin strongman and that he's convinced that more repression is needed so he doesn't suffer the same grisly fate as the Libyan leader

Will Putin meet Gaddafi's fate? Russia president fears being killed by mob as pro-Alexei Navalny protests rage
Vladimir Putin is convinced that more repression is needed so he doesn't suffer the same grisly fate as Libyan leader Muammar El Gaddafi (Getty Images)
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A leading expert has claimed that Vladimir Putin may be terrified of being assassinated like Libyan dictator Muammar el Gaddafi as protests have sparked over the jailing of Alexi Navalny, one of his staunchest critics. Speaking to The Sun, Russian-American historian Yuri Felshtinsky said that the ongoing unrest has rattled the Kremlin strongman and that he's convinced that more repression is needed so he doesn't suffer the same grisly fate at the Libyan revolutionary.

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Thousands of supporters of opposition figurehead Navalny have taken to the streets as Putin faces one of the biggest threats to his decades-long regime.

President of Russia and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Vladimir Putin watches a Victory Day military parade on Red Square, marking the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, on June 24, 2020, in Moscow, Russia. (Getty Images)

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For over twenty years, the 68-year-old has maintained an iron grip on Russia. He recently made headlines after signing off laws to cement his power until at least 2036.

However, Felshtinsky told the British newspaper how Putin may feel he needs to eliminate his opponents to protect his position and quell the disorder. According to the report, the Russian strongman has "obsessively watched" videos of Colonel Gaddafi being dragged by a raging mob of militants and murdered in 2011.

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Putin is now terrified that a similar fate awaits him should he ever to loosen his grip on Kremlin, Felshtinsky claims. “Correct – this he knows,” Felshtinsky told The Sun Online. “He’s bright enough to know that under normal rules, his system of government cannot exist. He’s not an idealist. He knows there’s no way he can survive unless he continues to oppress." He added: “The lesson that Putin will have learned after the recent events is that he should control more and that he should repress more. And that’s what we will see." 44-year-old Navalny was reportedly detained while arriving back from Germany, where he was recuperating after being poisoned with lethal nerve agent Novichok in an assassination attempt linked to the Kremlin.

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German army emergency personnel load portable isolation unit (Epi Shuttle) into their ambulance that was used to transport Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny at Charite hospital on August 22, 2020, in Berlin, Germany. (Getty Images)

Felshtinksy, who wrote 'The Age of Assassins: Putin’s Poisonous War on Democracy in Russia', helped Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko escape to the UK before he was murdered by Kremlin assassins, according to The Sun. The historian told the outlet that Navalny may be eliminated in a similar fashion, now that he has been jailed for three years in a penal colony.

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Navalny made waves after he released a bombshell video that claimed to reveal a "secret palace" that Putin had built at a cost of more than $1.2 billion. Footage showed a purple velvet-lined boudoir that featured a stripper pole allegedly designed for the entertainment of Putin and his inner circle. Furthermore, Navalny claimed that Putin was the world's richest man and used a "slush fund" to cover the expenses of his extended family, The Sun reported.

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The video, according to Felshtinsky, may possibly have sealed the fate of Putin's arch-nemesis. “They know they made a major mistake when they didn’t kill him,” he said. “What has happened since shows to Putin that the decision to kill him was the right one. He’s the only person in Russia who is capable of organizing this kind of protest and an indication that he has to be taken down. They will kill him.”

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Protesters hold a banner reading "FREE NAVALNY" as some 2,500 supporters of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny march in protest to demand his release from prison in Moscow on January 23, 2021, in Berlin, Germany. (Getty Images)

Putin, a former KGB officer, came to power with the backing of the elite FSB Russian secret service. Felshtinsky said this meant it was nearly impossible for the Russian President to face a challenge in the foreseeable future. “In other countries, parties fight for political power but not in Russia because the FSB is above the parties and is the only power," he explained. “Putin did not become a dictator because he was intelligent or charismatic, but because the whole structure of the FSB is behind him. Even if Putin dies tomorrow and nothing will dramatically change.”

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At the moment, however, Putin “enjoys” being in power and is “not looking for retirement," per Felshtinsky. “There is no-one competing against him and there is no armed movement trying to overthrow him,” he added.

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