In a wide-ranging interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Mikhail Kasyanov, who served as prime minister under Mr Putin from 2000-2004, alleged that Mr Putin was running scared.
“He is angry and frightened and has lost his self-control,” said Mr Kasyanov, who tried to run against Mr Putin for the presidency in 2008, only to be disqualified on what he said was a trumped-up technicality.
“Putin understands that social pressure on him is growing all the time. He is nervous.”
Mr Kasyanov, who used to be on good terms with the strongman Russian leader until he and his cabinet were unceremoniously fired by the then president in 2004, said he felt it was the beginning of the end for Mr Putin.
“For the first time I have no doubt that if I or one of my colleagues was registered as a presidential candidate we would definitely win in the second round of voting. Putin has no doubt of that too, which is why he is afraid of us.”
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