Putin’s ‘successor’ who saved dictator from angry brown bear is preparing a new killer drone army for Russians to inflict more mayhem on Ukraine

  • Alexei Dyumin, 50, is a former Putin bodyguard and ex-deputy defence minister
  • He is now governor of Russia’s Tula region where he set up a drone pilot school
  • He is often mentioned favourably on Russian state media and has been identified as a possible successor to Putin 

A Russian governor being ‘groomed as successor’ to Vladimir Putin has launched a drone training school for Kremlin troops and secret service operatives to target Ukraine.

Alexei Dyumin, 50, is a former Putin bodyguard and ex-deputy defence minister who secretly led the 2014 operation to spring toppled Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych from Crimea and bring him to Russia.

He allegedly won Putin’s trust by saving the dictator from ‘certain death’ by scaring away a bear that tried to break into a remote presidential mountain residence.

Now, propaganda outlet RIA FAN has released video and pictures from the drone pilot school set up on Dyumin’s orders in Russia’s Tula region, of which he is governor. 

A drone pilot inspects his drone during a training session in Tula

A drone pilot inspects his drone during a training session in Tula

A Russian governor being 'groomed as successor' to Vladimir Putin has launched a drone training school for Kremlin troops and secret service operatives to target Ukraine

A Russian governor being ‘groomed as successor’ to Vladimir Putin has launched a drone training school for Kremlin troops and secret service operatives to target Ukraine

Alexei Dyumin, left, previously served on the personal security team for Putin (right)

Alexei Dyumin, left, previously served on the personal security team for Putin (right)

Alexei Dyumin, the current governor of Russia's Tula region, is pictured in his official headshot

Alexei Dyumin, the current governor of Russia’s Tula region, is pictured in his official headshot

The former bodyguard recruited a host of military instructors to coach a new army of drone operators as Russia seeks to regain aerial supremacy in its war against Ukraine, according to the outlet.

Graduates of the school undergo intense training before gaining certification, at which point they are shipped straight to Ukraine to unleash drone attacks or to conduct intelligence and reconnaissance operations.

‘Since the beginning of the special military operation, Alexei Dyumin has been in constant contact with the Russian Defence Ministry, with the command of the units where the Tula reservists serve,’ said Maxim Sinyavsky, local trade minister.

‘Soldiers were delivered additional equipment, machinery and special equipment.

‘Mastering the skills of using drones will allow military personnel to competently perform their tasks.’

Vladimir Putin checks missiles on a visit to the Tula region; to his right is the region's governor Alexei Dyumin, described by some Russian political analysts as Putin's successor

Vladimir Putin checks missiles on a visit to the Tula region; to his right is the region’s governor Alexei Dyumin, described by some Russian political analysts as Putin’s successor

Putin recently visited Dyumin (left) during a state trip to a weapons manufacturing plant in Tula

Putin recently visited Dyumin (left) during a state trip to a weapons manufacturing plant in Tula

Alexei Dyumin, 50 (left), is a former Putin bodyguard and former deputy head of the GRU intelligence service

Alexei Dyumin, 50 (left), is a former Putin bodyguard and former deputy head of the GRU intelligence service

Dyumin has served as deputy head of the GRU military intelligence, and holds the army rank of Lieutenant-General.

He was also deputy head of the presidential guard. 

Now he is increasingly being used by Putin – reported to have multiple health problems – as a troubleshooter to speed military supplies to the front in Ukraine.

Putin met with Dyumin during a state trip to Tula last month to inspect a major weapons plant where Dyumin has overseen a rise in production.

Putin was seen inspecting armoured personnel vehicles at Shcheglovsky Shaft JSC arms factory.

The Russian president’s former bodyguard is earning an increasing number of positive mentions on state TV for his support of the despot.

Dyumin earlier told how he stared at the bear that came to attack Putin in a mountain retreat.

‘Naturally, I was armed, the president was upstairs,’ said the governor, who is seen as a potential action man president should Putin be forced to quit.

‘So the bear and I looked into each other’s eyes, and he stepped back a little. I opened the door and emptied the entire cartridge of my pistol under his feet.’

The beast wisely retreated. Putin later praised Dyumin for not shooting dead the beast.

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