Alexey Venediktov, editor-in-chief of the popular Echo Moscow radio station, said, in response to a question about the possibility of a coup against Putin, that the security and business cliques in Russia were not interested in a change of leadership and that Putin views himself as a savior or a Batman. The interview with Venediktov, one of the most-quoted and influential media personalities in Russia, aired on Current Time TV on November 3.
Following are excerpts
Alexey Venediktov: I don't see any possibility [of an anti-Putin coup] at present, but coups are not usually revealed in advance. I believe that the circles surrounding the president - both the security establishment and business circles - will insist that he run for another term, because Putin is not just a leader - he integrates and balances out various interests. Even if you were to replace Putin with some other figure, close to him as he might be, this would cause turbulence in the system of interests. Those who sit tight around the throne right now do not need such turbulence, even if they are harmed in the short term [by Putin's presence].
We see that the security and business cliques around Putin count on him to personally guarantee the continuation of their everyday activities. That is how he structured the system.
I know these people personally. They are very pragmatic. If their direct interests within the country are not under threat, they will face only the threat of turbulence [in the event of a change of leader]. Be it [oppositionist] Navalny, [PM] Medvedev, or [former Defense Minister] Ivanov - it's all about turbulence. This is about a change in priorities, a change in ruling cliques, and a change in budgetary flow. Why would these [elites] need [such a change]?
As I've said before, Putin views himself as Batman, as a savior. The young generation loves this. They always associate themselves with Batman, not with Robin. This is serious. [Putin] serves as a role-model for the youth. He goes against everybody. It's not just propaganda. He actually challenges everyone. The youth likes this. Vladimir Putin, for his part, exploits this image very successfully, and the television magnifies it.