MI6 SPIES could help oust Putin by wooing Russian coup plotters with cash, gold Rolexes or even Wimbledon seats, security experts have said.
A lightning mutiny by Russia’s Wagner Group mercenaries exposed cracks in Putin’s increasingly weak grip on power – and now the West could step in to finally topple Vlad’s house of cards.
It’s thought Putin may have a leadership crisis on his hands, with plenty ofwaiting in the wings and willing to claw their way to power.
Security analysts are convinced the extraordinary Wagner rebellion marks “the beginning of the end” for the tyrant as he emerges from the attempted coup shaken, weakened and exposed.
It’s thought Putin’s inner circle and military top brass could be theto strike with a revolt.
The West is watching closely as they brace for a Kremlin collapse – with Britain preparing “for a range of scenarios” after the Russian upheaval.
Three leading security experts laid out how such a coup could play out – and how the West could offer support, sanctuary, or even outright bribes to Russians.
Western nations have previously backed regime change – such as supporting rebel groups in Libya and Syria.
The UK itself could even help topple Putin by enlisting MI6 to support a rebellion against him, Professor Anthony Glees, from the University of Buckingham, said.
He told The Sun that the foreign intelligence service would execute the order “under conditions of the very greatest secrecy”.
And given the apparent failure of Prigozhin to oust Putin, MI6 spooks could try to give Vlad’s evil regime one last push.
“The issue would be one for MI6 to develop,” Prof Glees told The Sun Online.
“If the Prime Minister were to give them the signal to go, it would then be for MI6 to execute the order, under conditions of the very greatest secrecy.”
Prof Glees said MI6’s chief, Sir Richard Moore, “would be guided by history”.
“I think he would argue that history shows the best way of toppling Putin would be to support a successful rebellion against him,” he said.
“This has two big advantages over an assassination attempt.
“Putin could be taken alive and so delivered to the International Criminal Court in the Hague where he could be tried for his war crimes.
“Second, Britain’s part in getting rid of him could be concealed, avoiding any kind of retaliation.
“What MI6 officers would have to do is try to identify Russian military officers who might want to strike at Putin and then covertly offer them the strongest political support and inducements to proceed.
“These could be cash inducements, offers of aid to Russia, gold Rolexes, seats at Wimbledon or places at Eton for their sons, the usual MI6 gifts.”
Prof Glees said MI6 would look at Operation Foxley – the 1944 plan hatched by the UK’s Special Operations Executive, a secret World War Two organisation, to assassinate Hitler.
They came up with two ways of wiping out Hitler – either by adding poison to the drinking water of Hitler’s train, or by shooting him on his morning walk.
But it never happened.
I think Putin is a cold, hard, demented killer who will try to threaten and murder his way out of any corner he finds himself in
In July of that year, there was a rebellion against Hitler by German army generals – and Hitler “exacted horrific revenge”, Prof Glees said.
“The plotters were hanged by piano wire, their death struggles filmed for the pleasure of the Fuehrer,” he explained.
“In the end, as we know, it was the RAF and the Allied troops that got rid of Hitler by taking Germany apart, basically brick by brick.
“As Operation Foxley found, it’s very hard indeed to get near enough to someone like Putin to ensure a quick clean kill even if one were to know his whereabouts which is always going to be very complex.”
But Prof Glees said the West should do “all we can” to expedite Putin’s downfall to stop him from doing something stupid and dangerous.
He told The Sun: “Bribe them with the sunlit uplands of a better tomorrow in which we buy their gas and oil again; offer them gold Rolexes and luxury yachts, whatever, but first they need to kill Putin.”
Glees warned the tyrant might not even live to turn 71.
“These things can often happen very quickly,” he said.
“I think Putin is a cold, hard, demented killer who will try to threaten and murder his way out of any corner he finds himself in.
“I think he is hated and once his authority has finally drained away, I think he’ll try to get away, perhaps to Cuba, near the masses of cash we think he’s keeping for a rainy day in a trust fund in the British Virgin Islands.”
Security expert Igor Shchebetun agrees that the West should step in to help coup plotters take out Putin.
“As long as Putin is alive,will bear the stigma of defeat and an international criminal,” Shchebetun said.
“There is no way Putin can be left alive for long – the ideal scenario is removal from power and death in a short period of time.
“If the West want to prevent chaos with respect to nuclear weapons, access to resources without blackmail, and preserve the status quo, the West should directly control the situation in Russia.”
Explaining how such an intervention would play out, Shchebetun said the “range of tools” available to the West to help oust Putin is “huge”.
“This kind of operation is carried out indirectly and with other people’s hands,” he said, referring to foreign intelligence agencies.
“The technologies of black diplomacy andof tools to overthrow governments by foreign hands is huge and available not only to special services.
“The overthrow of the Gaddafi and Yanukovich regimes and the attempt to overthrow Assad in Syria used the same methodologies and printed manuals.
“All of these overthrows were perfectly planned.”
Putin is reportedly terrified of the possibility that he could be ousted and then killed – being obsessed with what happened to Gaddafi in 2011.
Four top Kremlin power-brokers who could seize the opportunity to overthrow Putin include PM Mikhail Mishustin, Nikolai Patruschev and spy chiefs Alexander Bortnikov and Sergei Naryshkin.
Ex-Army officer Col Richard Kemp warned that any move against the Russian leader could come “very fast and without warning”.
He told The Sun: “Many elites are deeply dissatisfied with Putin’s war that has been very damaging for them with no tangible benefits.
“I would say the chances of a move of some sort against Putin just increased.
“Given the extent of Kremlin surveillance of individuals in a position of any power at all it would be very difficult to build an alliance that could topple him.
I would say the chances of a move of some sort against Putin just increased
Col Richard Kemp
“But in Russia the unexpected has happened before and when it does it usually comes very fast and without warning.
“Likewise an assassination attempt would be hard. Putin has the tightest possible security around him. But no security is perfect and it might be possible for someone or some people to get at him.
“They would have to be very clever and they would also have to be ready to die and perhaps face torture whether the assassination succeeds or fails.
“The stakes could not be higher.”
Although Russia is the “toughest target” in the world for Western intelligence agencies, Col Kemp said MI6 or the CIA might be able to identify a plot within Russia and provide some form of support.
He said: “Of course that would be very risky as it could be immensely damaging if their involvement, even on the margins, became known.
“But our intelligence services have achieved even more unlikely things in the past and I would not exclude the possibility.
“I think the UK and US would like to see an end to Putin’s power given the enormous damage he has been causing… not just to Ukraine but also to the international order and to our economies.
“But they also know that if he is brought down he might well be replaced by someone even worse.”
If Putin is toppled, Col Kemp warned there could be “utter chaos” – and it could even lead to Russia descending into warlord-controlled breakaway states.
“Whatever the outcome of the current situation Russia will remain a danger to the West, perhaps not immediately but certainly in the longer term,” he said.
“Never again should Europe complacently think it can lower its guard and enjoy some kind of peace dividend.”