Dyumin with Putin

The World According to Dyumin—Putin’s Former Bodyguard and His Potential Successor

February 29, 2024
Olga Kiyan

There’s little doubt left that Vladimir Putin will run in Russia’s March 15-17 presidential “elections” this March. Should, however, Putin decide to eventually pick a successor due to age or other reasons, chances are that his former bodyguard Aleksey Dyumin will be one of the top contenders thanks to his proximity to the Russian leader and his versatile experience. 

Born on Aug. 28, 1972, Dyumin enrolled in a military academy in Voronezh after finishing high school. He graduated in 1994 and was dispatched to serve in a Russian Air Force unit in the Moscow region. In 1996, Dyumin transferred to the Federal Guard Service, where he remained until 2013. Starting in August 1999, he was a member of the unit providing security for then acting premier Vladimir Putin. In that position, Dyumin developed a personal relationship with the Russian leader, one that has lasted to this day, and which has been rewarded. After Putin left the Kremlin and took on the role of prime minister in 2008, Dyumin followed him to serve as his personal adjutant until 2013, when Dyumin began pursuing a career in the Russian Armed Forces. During 2013-2016, he served as chief of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff and as deputy commander of the Ground Forces. In 2015-2016, Dyumin served as a deputy defense minister before being appointed by Putin to serve as governor of the Tula oblast in February 2016, and then elected into the position in September 2016 with 84.17% of the vote. In addition to running the Tula region, Dyumin also serves as a member of the Presidium of the State Council of the Russian Federation, a position to which he was appointed by Putin and in which he works to resolve current issues of the State Council's activity, which serves as an advisory body to the Russian head of state.

Dyumin occasionally hints at his close connection with Putin, with whom he plays hockey, but officially he insists that “this is not a special relationship.” Given his closeness to Putin, Dyumin has been sanctioned by the United States in 2018 and the United Kingdom in 2023 for involvement in Russian malign activities worldwide. As cited by the U.S. Department of Treasury, this includes “continuing to occupy Crimea and instigate violence in eastern Ukraine, supplying the Assad regime with material and weaponry as they bomb their own civilians, attempting to subvert Western democracies and malicious cyber activities.” Dyumin also noted a close relationship with Yevgeny Prigozhin, leader of the Wagner Group PMC. 

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, Dyumin has expressed explicit support for the war. When Prigozhin launched a mutiny in June 2023, Dyumin participated in negotiations with Prigozhin. Dyumin described Prigozhin as “a true patriot, a decisive and fearless man.” Prigozhin agreed to discontinue the mutiny only to die in a plane crash in August 2023, which WSJ accused Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Putin’s Security Council and another of his potential successors, of organizing. Dyumin’s praise of Prigozhin, however, did not cause Putin to end the relationship with his former bodyguard, the closeness of which was on display during Putin’s visit to Tula earlier this month. 

This RM product examines Dyumin’s views on key issues on the U.S.-Russia agenda as well as on developments in Russia itself. The comments quoted below touch on these issues, made mostly since Putin's return to the Kremlin in 2012. Given the absence of any known personal social media accounts, this analysis of Dyumin’s views rests almost solely on official statements and interviews. The quotes below are divided into categories similar to those in Russia Matters’ news and analysis digests, reflecting the most pertinent topic areas for U.S.-Russian relations broadly and for drivers of the two countries’ policies toward one another. Bulleted text that is not italicized, bracketed or in parentheses is a direct quote unless otherwise indicated. All sections may be updated with new or past statements.


I. U.S. and Russian priorities for the bilateral agenda

Nuclear security and safety:

  • No significant developments.

North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs:

  • No significant developments.

Iran and its nuclear program:

  • No significant developments.

Humanitarian impact of the Ukraine conflict:

  • Every child should be raised in a family, surrounded by attention, care and love. In the regional data bank about children left without parental care in the Tula region, 331 families are registered, ready to take in an orphan child. We will assist families in adopting a child, the corresponding order I have already given it to the relevant ministry. (TASS, 06.01.22)
  • Dyumin said that, together with other regions, the Tula region will take part in restoring the infrastructure of the DPR. (AiF, 06.16.23)
  • The murder of civilians is an inhumane, monstrous crime for which there can be no justification. I ask you to convey words of sincere sympathy and support to the families and friends of the victims, wishes for a speedy recovery to the victims. (RIA Novosti, 01.21.24)

Military aspects of the Ukraine conflict and their impacts:

  • Assistance to military personnel is now in the first place for us; we have been providing it from the very beginning of the special operation… In total, since the beginning of the special military operation, more than 2 billion rubles have been spent on replenishing fighters, this work does not stop - we continue to transfer cargo to the front line on an ongoing basis. (TASS, 06.15.23)
  • One of the main topics that worries Russians is the special military operation. In the Tula region there is a set of measures to support SVO participants and their families, which is constantly expanding. Today I signed a decree, according to which the children of SVO participants will receive New Year’s gifts of 5,000 rubles each. (RIA Novosti, 12.14.23)

Punitive measures related to Russia’s war against Ukraine and their impact globally:

  • Together with Denis Manturov, Dyumin “briefed the meeting on the preparation of proposals for system-wide support of projects that ensure Russia's technological sovereignty, as well as other proposals to be considered at the State Council meeting on the development of domestic industry under sanctions pressure.” (Global Government News and Documents by PUBT, 01.11.23)

Ukraine-related negotiations: 

  • No significant developments.

Great Power rivalry/new Cold War/NATO-Russia relations:

  • No significant developments.

China-Russia: Allied or aligned?

  • Implementation with Chinese partners is now in full swing. By the way, after the presentation, when I had the honor to be with you during Mr. Xi Jinping’s state visit, we showed what was practically gone. We have retained this, restored it, the Chinese are now in close dialogue with us, and now a project worth 40 billion rubles is being implemented, and this is the creation of about 350-400 jobs, this is quite a serious volume. (Kremlin, 11.05.20)

Missile defense:

  • No significant developments.

Nuclear arms:

  • No significant developments.


  • No significant developments.

Conflict in Syria:

  • No significant developments.

Cyber security/AI: 

  • No significant developments.

Energy exports from CIS:

  • During the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Leonid Mikhelson, chairman of the management board of PAO NOVATEK (“NOVATEK”), and Aleksey Dyumin, governor of the Tula region, signed a cooperation agreement to implement a small-scale LNG investment project in the Tula region. (Novatek, 06.15.23)

Climate change:

  • No significant developments.

U.S.-Russian economic ties:

  • No significant developments.

U.S.-Russian relations in general:

  • No significant developments.


II. Russia’s domestic policies 

Domestic politics, economy and energy:

  • I want to say right away, that I treated and still treat [Defense Minister Sergei] Shoigu with great respect. He is a real person, I am glad that fate brought me to him. (Kommersant, 02.09.16)
  • Elections are elections, but I will naturally try to pay attention to my duties first of all. And for me, of course, the state of mind of the population is very important... and the security of those people for whom I will be responsible. And this is a very difficult task. (Kommersant, 02.09.16)
  • The concept of the Composite Valley project was created in 2017 on the initiative of Governor of the Tula Region Aleksey Dyumin. This project was included in the list of 42 strategic initiatives for the socio-economic development of Russia until 2030 and received the support of the president. The potential of the Kurchatov Institute and the industry of the Tula Region are expected to be involved as part of the Composite Valley project. (Russia's Defense and Technologies Newswire, 11.23.22) 
  • In August 2020, in the Hero City of Tula, Mr. Miller and I signed a program for the further gas infrastructure development in our region through to 2025, which provides for connecting 363 towns in our region to gas grids. In line with your instruction on social gasification – this is fully underway in the region, this program is in demand and appreciated by residents: 7,000 contracts have already been signed, gas connection has been brought up to the boundaries of 3,500 land plots and households. Also, under this program, we plan to supply gas to another 17,000 households. (Kremlin, 02.17.23)
  • Economic aggression toward Russia is intensifying, the more powerful should be the support for companies that are actively working in import substitution and, despite all the difficulties, are going into new investment projects. (Kremlin, 04.04.23)
  • Vladimir Vladimirovich, in the decree on national development goals until 2030, you set a clear task: to ensure the presence of the Russian Federation among the 10 leading countries in the world in terms of the volume of scientific research and development. (Kremlin, 04.04.23)
  • On this sacred day [Victory Day], we remember everyone who did not flinch, withstood those harsh years. Stopped and then defeated the enemy in his own lair. At a huge cost, the Soviet people saved the country, the whole of Europe and almost the whole world. Today our valiant warriors are fighting again for their homeland. Bravely and courageously fulfill their duty. (RIA Novosti, 05.09.23)
  • Natural gas transport has a great future, so we plan to develop all the necessary infrastructure. (TASS, 06.15.23)
  • By the decision of the president, 15 world-class research and educational centers have been created, which need to be integrated into the system of entrepreneurial education and increased capacity. Their work must be improved taking into account today’s tasks under the current restrictions. It is important to apply the best practices and increase the state’s financial participation in science. (TASS, 06.15.23)
  • The task set by the country’s President Vladimir Putin in terms of ensuring the technological sovereignty of the state is complex. To implement it, it is necessary to consolidate the efforts of the state and business. The decisions being made now and the projects being implemented require long-term planning and the formation of groundwork. (Interfax, 05.22.23)
  • An important role in creating a comfortable business climate is played by the implementation of the regional investment standard developed by the Federal Ministry of Economic Development. But the most important thing is that we quickly respond to requests from entrepreneurs. Since 2023, the Tula region, as a pilot region, has been participating in a project to develop an investor feedback mechanism developed by the Russian Ministry of Economic Development. (Interfax, 05.22.23)
  • We are constantly expanding our offer for tourists. … One of our main tasks is to create a unique style and atmosphere that will be associated with Tula. (Interfax, 05.22.23)
  • In the Tula region, supporting military personnel and their families has become a truly common cause that has united government, business, non-profit organizations, and generally all caring people. (Interfax, 05.22.23)
  • We not only carefully preserve our historical heritage, but also actively work to popularize culture among our residents. All municipalities and rural settlements have cultural centers. Now serious attention is paid to the development of their infrastructure. (TASS, 08.23.23)
  • The chemistry megaproject will provide an opportunity to create new, unique production facilities for the country, which are necessary for technological sovereignty. One of them will be Russia's first industrial production of citric acid, its salts and other types of acids. (TASS, 10.11.23)
  • Talking about Tula: Without my Yasnaya Polyana, it is difficult for me to imagine Russia and my attitude toward it. (RIA Novosti, 01.10.24)
    • Tula is a shield and an arsenal, an outpost of Russia. The place where the defense industry began to emerge from the times of Peter the Great - that is why Tula is the weapons capital. (RIA Novosti, 01.10.24)

Defense and aerospace:

  • See also section Military aspects of the Ukraine conflict and their impacts above.
  • Dyumin said that in his new position [as Tula governor] he intends to continues the programs started by his predecessor, paying special attention to the development of key enterprises in the region, primarily defense industry enterprises. (AiF, 02.04.16)
  • We see from last year, when we held this forum, that part - one third of those innovative ideas, unconventional and bold solutions are already being introduced into production - in our defense and metallurgical industries. (TASS, 06.26.23)
  • We managed to talk on our feet with Manturov, Deputy Prime Minister, with the Minister of Defense, with representatives of the Ministry of Defense to develop additional solutions that are aimed at more ... efficient operation of the entire defense-industrial complex, because there are certain barriers, there are certain things which can be improved... for more efficient and high-quality implementation of the State Defense Order. (RIA Novosti, 08.14.23)
  • The skillful and competent use of the technical means that you have learned here is very important. In a timely manner, transmit, identify, and assess the terrain to commanders for decision-making. Competent and quick transmission of target coordinates means timely defeat of the enemy and saves the lives of your comrades. Based on your skills, based on your fortitude, your attitude, you should always be one step ahead. ... [A]nd there will be a progressive step-by-step movement forward towards our main goal - to victory. (TV Zvezda, 09.26.23)
  • Our arms makers are displaying their unique technological solutions for a variety of uses. Among them are advanced anti-tank, air defense and radar weapons, and simulators to train personnel. The Tula defense industry's output is proving to be highly effective in real combat on a daily basis. (Interfax, 08.18.23)

Security, law-enforcement and justice:

  • When asked about his relationship with Putin: This is not a special relationship. These are security measures. We could all end up in the water... And so that Vladimir Vladimirovich would not end up in the water, in the raging ocean in the first place... And I didn’t want to end up, because if something happened, we would all have to. (Kommersant, 02.09.16)
  • Aleksey Dyumin ordered to strengthen security measures to protect against drones. The issue of protecting the region from UAVs became the main issue at a meeting of the operational headquarters under the governor of the Tula region. (Telegram, 04.07.23)
  • [Regarding Dyumin’s alleged role in negotiations with Prigozhin] Governor of the Tula region Aleksey Dyumin, within the framework of his powers, ensures continuous and sustainable management of the region. And one of the most important tasks is to ensure the safety of residents of the region and the functioning of vital infrastructure. The identified issues go beyond the powers of the governor. (Interfax, 06.24.23)
  • I knew Prigozhin as a true patriot, a decisive and fearless man. He did a lot for the country, and his homeland will not forget him. We mourn for those killed in this disaster, for all the soldiers of the Wagner PMC who fell during the Northern Military District. You can forgive mistakes and even cowardice, betrayal - never. They were not traitors. (Meduza, 08.25.23)

III. Russia’s relations with other countries

Russia’s general foreign policy and relations with “far abroad” countries:

  • No significant developments.


  • When asked about his role in evacuating Yanukovych from Ukraine: I don’t even understand where all this comes from. Where do such legends come from? Who creates these myths? After the start of the famous events in Ukraine, I never saw this gentleman at all. And what you’re asking me about, I can’t even comment on, because it’s not true at all. In general, I won’t tell anything about the activities of the unit in which I served. Because I cannot. (Kommersant, 02.09.16)

Russia's other post-Soviet neighbors:

  • No significant developments.


This is the fourth installment in our series on the views of Putin’s potential successors; the first covered Nikolai Patrushev, the second covered Dmitry Medvedev and the third covered Vyacheslav Volodin. Quotes linked to English-language sources were taken from the source indicated; quotes linked to Russian-language sources were translated by RM. Entries in each subsection are in chronological order, from oldest to newest.

This item is also part of Russia Matters’ “Clues from Russian Views” series, in which we share what newsmakers in/from Russia are saying on Russia-related issues that impact key U.S. national interests so that RM readers can glean clues about their thinking. The opinions expressed in the compiled quotes are solely those of the speaker.


Olga Kiyan

Olga Kiyan is a student associate with Russia Matters. 

Photo by Kremlin.ru shared under a Creative Commons license.