Russia could become like “North Korea on steroids” when President Vladimir Putin is replaced, a former Kremlin adviser has claimed.

Sergei Guriev, also an economist, made the stark warning on Friday, claiming that because the system was created with Putin in mind, it could face total collapse after a period with a military nut in the hot seat.

Guriev left Russia in a hurry in 2013 amid a political crackdown, and fled to France.

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Speaking to a CNBC reporter at the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy, he said: “Regimes like this change in very unpredictable way.

"It’s very hard to predict what will come after Putin. The reason for that is Putin has built his regime in a way nobody can replace him.”

“He built the regime in a way that without him, the system will not function. People around him don’t trust each other, sometimes hate each other, so if he is gone the system will change somehow,” he said.

Putin recently passed a law that allows him to run for the Russian presidency twice more in his lifetime.

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Guriev continued: “So, probably initially it will be some kind of ultra-nationalist guy or military junta, but it will not last for long exactly because the system is built around Putin. And eventually, I think the system will collapse."

Guriev added that a succesor who wants to rebuild a crumbled Russian economy may even reach out to the West. 

“It could be months, it could be several years, it could be North Korea on steroids, who knows? But it could also be a situation where the system collapses and somebody who wants to rebuild the economy reaches out to the West,” he added.

The liberal-minded economist fled Russia when under pressure from government investigators in 2013. 

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