Alexei Dyumin: Putin’s ex-bodyguard and potential successor | World | News

Alexei Dyumin and Vladimir Putin.

Alexei Dyumin was part of Vladimir Putin’s security team. (Image: GETTY)

Vladimir Putin has appointed his 51-year-old former bodyguard, Alexei Dyumin, as secretary of the advisory State Council.

This decision came only days after Putin had already signalled Dyumin was to play a key role in his close circle during this term, having appointed him on May 14 as his aide overseeing the defence industry.

The latest promotion has further fuelled rumours Putin may see a potential successor in Dyumin.

Dyumin has no social media presence, but reports of his relationship with Putin – either through interviews or sources – have emerged in recent years, as the curiosity of the public grew alongside his importance.

But who is this former bodyguard, and how close is he to the Russian president?

Alexei Dyumin at the Kremlin

Alexei Dyumin is the new secretary of the advisory State Council in Russia. (Image: GETTY)

Early years

Born in the western Russian city of Kursk on August 28 1972, Dyumin grew up in a family closely linked to the military, as his father Gennady Vasilyevich Dyumin is a general and military medic.

Despite being a star athlete in his youth, Dyumin decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and joined the Voronezh Higher Military Engineering School of Radio Electronics – a military academy specialising in radio electronics.

Following his graduation, he started serving in 1995 as an engineer in a Russian Air Force unit in the Moscow region, but the following year he began his long stint in the Federal Protective Service (FSO), a Russian agency protecting senior officials and safeguarding their communications.

Alexei Dyumin and Vladimir Putin playing hockey

Alexei Dyumin gained the trust of Vladimir Putin over the years. (Image: GETTY)


Dyumin’s first working contact with Putin came in 1999 when he joined the unit providing security to the newly-appointed prime minister of Russia – soon to be anointed president.

He seemingly gained the trust of Putin and importance within his close circle, as he rose through the ranks to become, in 2012, deputy head of the Presidential Security Service.

Dyumin didn’t just protect Putin from threats and assassination attempts, as he claimed to have once shielded him from a “very smart” bear.

He previously told Russian publication Kommersant: “The President was already sleeping when I got a call from the station, saying a bear is at the entrance. At first, I thought it was a joke, I went to the door, and I saw a large bear in front of me.

“The doors were made out of glass, I am armed of course, and the President is just upstairs… So, the bear and I locked eyes, he took a step back, and I opened the door and discharged the entire clip of the pistol under his feet.

Alexei Dyumin and Vladimir Putin.

Alexei Dyumin is Vladimir Putin’s aide overseeing the defence industry. (Image: GETTY)

“The bear turned out to be very smart. He understood that I spared him, turned around, and slowly wandered off. In the morning, I reported to the President, who said I did well for not shooting the bear.”

Dyumin’s prolonged and loyal service to Putin is believed to have been rewarded by the Russian president, as his family has received 0.92 hectares of land.

While he left his post as Putin’s security detail, Dyumin didn’t interrupt his relationship with his former boss. After completing a training course at the General Staff’s academy, he served several roles in quick succession between 2013 and 2016, including that of deputy chief of the military intelligence agency, the GRU, deputy commander of Russian Ground Forces and deputy defence minister.

In this latter role, he was the “president’s eyes and ears”, according to analyst Andrey Pertsev.

In February 2016, Putin appointed his former bodyguard as acting Governor of Tula, a position later confirmed through an election held in September that same year. He stepped down from this role on May 14, following Putin’s decision to make him one of his aides.

Russian President Vladimir Putin visiting Tula with Alexei Dyumin

Alexei Dyumin served as governor of Tula between February 2016 and May 2024. (Image: Getty)

Role in Ukraine

The Kommersant newspaper previously reported unnamed sources claiming Dyumin had overseen the evacuation to Russia of deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in 2014, following the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity.

Putin’s loyal former bodyguard has described this allegation as a “myth” and “legend”.

That same year, the Russian news outlet also claimed that Dyumin led the GRU’s special forces during the illegal annexation of Crimea, still occupied by Russia. He has declined to comment on this report.

Yevgeny Prigozhin

Alexei Dyumin reportedly had a close relationship with Yevgeny Prigozhin (Image: GETTY)

Dyumin is reported to have had a close relationship with Yevgeny Prigozhin, co-founder and leader of the private paramilitary Wagner Group.

After Prigozhin launched a short-lived mutiny against the Russian defence leadership in June last year, Dyumin reportedly took part in the negotiations that saw the Wagner leader go into exile in Belarus.

Following Prigozhin’s deadly plane crash in August, Putin’s former bodyguard defended the warlord as a “true patriot, a decisive and fearless man”.

Vladimir Putin and Alexei Dyumin

The Kremlin hasn’t shared details about Alexei Dyumin’s latest role (Image: GETTY)

Putin’s successor?

Dyumin’s latest promotion to secretary of the advisory State Council has created a fresh buzz around him and whether he has presidential potential.

Sergei Markov, a former Kremlin adviser and Putin supporter, wrote on the messaging platform Telegram: “Russia‘s elite is abuzz with the appointment of Dyumin.”

Saying this was something that had long been rumoured, he added: “This is seen as confirmation that Dyumin is the future president of Russia, Putin’s choice.”

The Kremlin hasn’t shared details about this role besides the fact that Dyumin is taking over from 72-year-old Igor Levitin and he would look at how the State Council would function.

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