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Putin will be overthrown by allies in 'internal struggle,' Navalny's Chief of Staff insists

20 March 2021, 13:24 | Updated: 20 March 2021, 13:36

By Seán Hickey

Alexei Navalny's Chief of Staff claims Vladimir Putin will be overthrown by his own inner circle, under pressure from pro-democracy protests.

Leonid Volkov spoke exclusively to Matt Frei as his boss, Alexei Navalny remains in a penal colony in Russia on charges of skipping bail. The Russian opposition leader is expected to serve three years for the charge, whilst simultaneously being the figurehead of Russia's anti-Putin movement.

His Chief of Staff, Mr Volkov insisted that in Navalny's absence, the pro-democracy movement continues to gain traction. "Every new wave of protest brings something more," he told Matt.

"We've reached an unprecedented amount of cities this time which means now we have some cells of our supporters in more cities than ever, and these groups will organise better for the next waves."

He explained that the only certainty in Russia's nationwide protests is that "the next wave will be more powerful," and will continue to build.

He predicts that eventually, the pro-democracy movement will grow so strong that it "will be strong enough to defeat Putin."

Read More: Amnesty strips Alexei Navalny of 'prisoner of conscience' status

"It does seem that if there is to a successful attempt to get rid of Putin it will be from his inner circle rather than the streets," Matt suggested.

"That's not my suggestion," Mr Volkov claimed. "That is a political historical fact."

He added that "the world has seen many regimes like Putin" and "many of them were unseated because of a coup, or some kind of internal struggle."

He hinted that protests will play a vital part in motivating Putin's allys to turn against him: "We have to impose more pressure to increase the probabilities of such internal struggle."

"This will present us with an enormous window of opportunity to start a peaceful transition to a free, democratic Russia."