Tag Archives: Vladislav Surkov

Vladislav Surkov – Doctor Spin of Pussy Riot scandal ?

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?

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Russia: Modernization and reform – from Stolypin to Medvedev

Versiunea în limba română poate fi citită aici.

In Moscow apparently dumbfounded, literally and figuratively, Vladimir Putin left his office from the White House and went to the Kremlin where Medvedev expected to return the function that was entrusted to four years ago. According  ceremony, the road between the two locations lasted 7 minutes. About what will be thought Putin in those 7 minutes ? I do not know. 🙂 Certainly is that in his short speech from the Ceremony of inauguration, Putin said that Russia is entering in a new phase of national development, that Dmitry Medvedev has spurred the modernization of Russia and the country’s transformation must to continue. Putin spoke about the need to strengthen democracy in Russia and its citizens’ constitutional rights. “Taking over the duties of President, I know full responsibility to the people, the country’s interests, security and welfare of citizens which have been and will remain for me above all. I will do my utmost to justify the trust of millions of our citizens” said Vladimir Putin.

Needs a non-revolution to modernize Russia

Is not the first time when Vladimir Putin refers to the need of change gradually, in several phases of evolution. Making an appeal to memory, I remember that in 1999, just before Yeltsin’s resignation, was published which later was called the Millennium Manifesto, and its text is attributed to Putin. The central message of the Manifesto is centered on the idea that Russia during the entire its history has lost its great power status when the Russian people was left divided, when they were overlooked common values that give Russian greatness and set it apart from other nation. A vision that we thought belonged to one of his favorite predecessors  – Petr Stolypin. And behold, this year when Russia is celebrated Stolypin, as one of its great reformers (150 years anniversary of his birth), the famous phrase uttered by Stolypin to the front of the State Duma in 1907 – “You, gentlemen, you need big riots. We need a great Russia. “- is strangely actual and seems to have become the axiomatic root of power authority in Moscow.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov and Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko at the international conference “Stolypin Readings. Russia’s Modernization Routes: From Stolypin to Contemporaneity.”

Attending to the recent works of International Conference “Stolypin Readings. Russia’s Modernization Routes: From Stolypin to Contemporaneity”, Deputy Prime Minister and ex-Kremlin ideologist Vladislav Surkov opened the conference by a welcoming speech in which he underscored that “respect for homeland, for its traditions and for national character along with an attempt to make necessary transformations in the interests of the nation” were the most important features of Stolypin’s policy. Surkov noted that Stolypin (known as a proponent of modernizing Russia gradually, through non-revolutionary ways) asked for his reforms 20 years. “The situation is somewhat similar now. We need 20 years to implement the strategy to modernize Russia. We have received already 10 years. We need another 10” said VYS, the Creator of the current political system in Russia. Skipping the poor math of the gray eminence of  Kremlin (from 2000 to now are 12 years, and if he will take a view on the percentage of mortality in Russia, likely to be horrified to see how many Russians will not catch the The great Russia in those two years that they requires in addition 😀 ), we notice another major impediment of this calculation – time. Time (and growing discontent of the population), the daily complaints (from overly zealous police who they meet to corrupt bureaucrat), news that are associated in the collective mind to the political changes that characterized other nations when they are dissatisfied, all this seems to be the greatest enemies of Russia’s new government. Moreover, Vladislav Surkov seemed quite less optimistic and a lot realistic, recognizing that although long-term solutions are on the table of authorities, they takes time. Time that people, like in Stolypin’s time, they still could not give those in power. The fact that recent Western model protests  Ocuppy Abai were turned into an anti-Putin summer camp, with symptoms that remember from hippie ideology rather than a riots that  decided to remove a regim, is not enough to believe that real possibility of riots can be excluded. Historical experience has demonstrated repeatedly that the forces and political pressures, sometimes, choose their one own path, despite the carefully calibrated efforts to channel them in a way.

The great reforms and the little  Medvedev

Medvedev in the Kremlin’s office was well received by the West, who saw in him a mix between the soft replica of Russian authoritarianism and openness to Western-democratic paradigm. West society sees democracy as a precondition for economic modernization and social prosperity. The fact that things are perceived differently in Moscow stems from the different perception that the Russian population has on these concepts: thus, 47 percent of Russians consider that democracy is synonymous with freedom of speech, press and religion, in contrast, only 24 percent believe that democracy involves primarily the economic prosperity of the country. That given that only 8% believe that Russia is a democracy and 40% think it is a partial democracy – according survey made by VITsOM. But what chance has the proposed modernization strategy of Medvedev – a real liberal view – under the circumstances of global crisis and the lack of support from the population (disappointed with the performance of Medvedev in relation with the great President Putin)? Like Stolypin, and also like Putin nor Medvedev does not want revolution. “The social and political need to be thoughtful, rational, progressive and consistent”. “Today, we are trying to develop democratic institutions insufficient, try to change our economy and political system” said the former president and current Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, in March 2011 in St. Petersburg, in opening a conference around the theme “Great reforms and modernization of Russia” (conference tried to establish a parallel between tsarist and current policy reforms). And, like in the recent speech of his Deputy PM Surkov, Medvedev then, at that time, added : “We continue the policy actually implemented 150 years ago.”

Since he came to Kremlin, Medvedev has made the modernization of the country one of his main priorities, focusing particularly on modernizing the Russian economy, too dependent on oil exports, through the development of High Technologies.  Skolkovo and the main partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – is a project which does not anyone to negate  its importance. But one swallow does not make a summer, says a word ! Biotechnology, telecommunications, nanotechnology, microelectronics, avionics and space technology, high performance computing devices are just a few of the areas in which Russia would like to affirm (as a collaborator or as a competitor). High ambitions, infrastructure from the past century. Russian people do not remember the spectacular results of the reform. But is more easy for them to speak about a series of recent setbacks of space and aviation industry. The attitude of Russian society became much more refractory to the consensus and social solidarity dreamed by “Cardinal” Surkov. Modernization of Russia creates the sensation of attempts to reaching the moon by airplane of the Little Prince’s creator. Sociologist Alexander Ansan believes that “modernization strategy should be based on specific national priority as such anachronisms can be converted into resources if modernization is adapted to the values and traditions of the nation”. While PM Medvedev seems completely absorbed by his new toy – Open Government – the experts from Stratfor finds a good thing: “The crisis has not seriously affected trade between the EU and Russia (although trade has declined significantly in 2009, it has back in 2011) “. But also they remark a fact that is likely to not enjoy to the vice-premier in charge of modernization, the same Vladislav Surkov, course … Stratfor says that “the great problem of Russia were the modernization and privatization programs  – were supposed to bring $ 10 billion in 2011. Contrary – what happened  was a decrease in these investments. Moreover, capital outflows from Russia in 2011 were $ 70 billion – twice more than the $ 35 billion planned – mostly  in the capital went to Europe“. In other words, while the economic foundations of Russia – exports to Europe – remains stable, investments are declining, which means that Moscow will needs to reassess plans that depend on European investments and eventually set to compute these or even to cancel if things in Europe will continue to worsen (that is more likely).

Published by Cadran Politic Review, May 2012

Russia’s President Medvedev names Kremlin strategist Surkov deputy PM

The continuous moving within the Presidential Administration of the Kremlin and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin subordinated team.

A Kremlin aide who played a key role in helping Vladimir Putin craft his tightly controlled political system was moved to a senior government job on Tuesday by President Dmitry Medvedev. Medvedev appointed Kremlin first deputy chief of staff Vladislav Surkov as a deputy prime minister, and appointed Deputy Prime Minister Vyacheslav Volodin in his place, Medvedev’s spokeswoman Natalia Timakova said. Remember that the last week Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov was appointed Head of Presidential Administration.

Surkov’s appointment was preceded by the return on Russian politics stage of the Russian ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin. The duty of Mr Rogozin as vice-premier will be the management of Russian military-industrial complex.

PS: Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) chief, Colonel General Alexander Shlyakhturov, has stepped down on grounds of age. His successor is Major General Igor Sergun.