According to a statement posted on the website of the Moscow government, Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov was appointed as curator also on the relationship of authorities with religious organizations. In fact, he was returned to a task which had taken in June by his cabinet colleague, minister Olga Golodets. I said, “also on the relationship …” because I think that Surkov himself, put in a situation to quickly mention which are his responsibilities, would be in trouble. 😀 Innovation, mass-media, statistics, government policies in the sphere of justice or culture, and responsibility for the smooth running of the whole administrative machinery of government are just some of the areas that the former (!?) gray eminence of the Kremlin supervises in Medvedev‘s government .
Russian media see the return of Surkov to the desk conductor of relations with religious organizations as rather an attempt by authorities to manage the scandal produced by the group Pussy Riot girls, scandal that seems to have exceeded the standard of public attention expected by authorities. In other words, the prime minister decided to entrust to Doctor Spin, a professional of Power’s propaganda (“master puppeteer“, as called billionaire Prokhorov) the mission to repair (somehow) extremely wrinkled image of the Kremlin, both – internally and externally. Especially abroad, where many leaders of the international community declared themselves bad impressed or condemning directly (such as the U.S. State Department and U.S. Embassy in Moscow) disproportionately response of state institutions to the protest of young punk girls against Putin.
In fact, I ask: even were these girls (and their unconventional protest like saying obscene insults in a church – even being the most famous cathedral in Moscow) a real problem for Putin’ system and an unthinkable blasphemy for the Russian Church ? Most likely not. I think that overly zealous reactions (with the tacit agreement of the Kremlin) of some politically subservient institutions, full of corrupt officials, ready to anything to appeal to country’s leaders, led to a disproportionately reaction of the public on social networks or journalists from media and resulted was an infantile snowball that has grown into a veritable avalanche that may sweep all in its way, including Medvedev’s post as prime minister.
When the part of some illustrious unknown – I mean of course the girls from Pussy Riot – intervene stars like Madonna or Sting, the media battle seems as lost. Licentious and ironic statements like that of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin only will make the things worse. Do not judge how justified or not, Mr. Rogozin noted (for readers less knowledgeable on the chronology of the scandal – after the concert in Moscow, when during the show Madonna donned a balaclava mask and had a «tattoo» with Pussy Riot band name written on her back in black ink – to demonstrate her support of three girls), Deputy Rogozin acidic commented on his Twitter account that “Every former w. with age seeks to lecture everyone on morals” with direct reference to the gesture of American artist). Rogozin did not accuse Madonna directly in his tweet , but the timing left no room for doubt – all Russian media understood the statement as an attack on Madonna and the shortened epithet was unanimously deciphered as whore. But notice that in terms of communication was a mistake, which transferred to girls from Pussy Riot the sympathy of thousands of fans of Madonna. And expanded a old discussion about the right of the Church to be a moral court. Of course, personally I am among those who acknowledge the lack of decency and exaggerated exhibitionist gesture of three young girls . But from there to make them as some proscribed of the society and condemned to years in prison (to pressure more or less visible representatives of the Church) seems unthinkable for XXI century and for Russia that wants to became a model of modern society, at least at regional level. I think that beyond the political options, Spin Doctor Surkov fully understand this and believe that we will not hear that “Devil has sent the girls from Pussy Riot to divide Russia”, even though – according to his own views – “God sent Putin to save Russia”.
At the same time Vedomosti daily, citing government sources, believes that the Surkov’s return of this post is a response to “the difficult situation of the Russian Orthodox Church leaders.” There were many accusations well known that have hovered in the recent months on Patriarch Kirill autority, the attitude of obedience and support declared of Vladimir Putin or about his acttraction for a very expensive lifestyle and in real contradiction to what the doctrine teaches Russian people. To these are added a series of corruption scandals involving religious side. Also, the other level of the problems caused by religious mix of Russia, there were a lot of attacks by insurgents from the Islamic republics of religious leaders of Muslim communities, of which one of these attacks last month ended with the death of a Muslim leader. Moreover, in the Chechnya (where long time led with an iron hand the friend of Vice-PM Surkov, Ramzan Kadyrov), are signs to restore the power of Islamic insurgents.
PS: As expected, the Russian Church reacted immediately after the appointment of Vladislav Surkov as knows best. Thus, the Archpriest Vselovod Chaplin, head of the Synodal Department Church and Relations Society told Interfax that “Vladislav Yurievich is a top intellectual and creative person in the true sense of the word. It is interesting and pleasant to work with him”, adding that the short break from June to August makes his return to be very expected. No Muslims were inferior with the statements. Chechen Mufti Sultan Mirzayev told journalists from Interfax that he was glad to hear of this appointment because “Surkov is a remarkable politician and a wise man, well aware of our problems and which knows how to take the best decisions for strengthening interreligious and ethnic peace.” Watching the President Putin’s reaction on the image above (original video can be seen here), without intent to compete with the Vice PM Rogozin sharp tongue, I think that Surkov has good reason to buy a pair of durable gloves. Or shoes, as the case. Is it not right, Vladislav Yurievich?