Russian insiders are allegedly secretly looking for replacements for Russian President Vladimir Putin in the event that the war in Ukraine kicks him out of power or he succumbs to poor health, according to independent Russian news site Meduza.

The perception of the Russian elites on Putin’s “special military operation” has flipped several times over the course of three months. Initially, Russian oligarchs were taken aback by the move to go to war against Ukraine. Soon, the anxiety was replaced by a wave of patriotism, with several key Russian figures standing by Putin’s decision.

However, as the war drags on and as the West continues to cripple the Russian economy with sanctions, pessimism against the conflict is once again gaining momentum.

“It won’t be possible to live like before. Any talk of development is out the window. But life goes on. There are gray imports. There’s trade with China and India,” a Kremlin insider told Meduza.

Consequently, the Kremlin is beginning to realize that the Russian populace is now too invested in the war in Ukraine, which blocks off any opportunity for Putin to simultaneously strike a peace deal and save his approval rating.

For weeks, Moscow has readjusted its war goals to appear as if it was able to achieve what it set out to do in an attempt to save face. However, this has been met with further losses on the battlefield.

“There’s probably almost nobody who’s happy with Putin. Businesspeople and many cabinet members are unhappy that the president started this war without thinking through the scale of the sanctions,” a source close to the Kremlin said, describing the mood among the elites.

“Normal life under these sanctions is impossible. The ‘hawks’ are mad about the pace of the ‘special operation’; they think more decisive action is possible,” they added. Even so, a small detachment of insiders believes Russia has gone past the point of no return, hence must go all out.