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The chief Kremlin political strategist was appointed as deputy prime minister

December 28, 2011, 12:32 UTC+3

Surkov is one of the architects of the current political system

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MOSCOW, December 28 (Itar-Tass) — First deputy chief of the presidential executive office Vladislav Surkov, who worked for 12 years in the Kremlin, was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister on Tuesday. Vyacheslav Volodin, who worked as deputy prime minister and the chief of the governmental staff, was appointed on the post instead of Surkov.

Surkov was appointed as Deputy Prime Minister to be in charge of modernization and innovative policy, the Vedomosti noted. “I asked the leadership for quite a long time to give me an opportunity to begin a new life in the new year. I was taken with comprehension, big thanks for this,” the newspaper quoted him as saying. He added that he will not deal with political projects any longer.

At his latest post since May 2008 (he worked as the deputy chief of the presidential executive office since August 1999) Surkov was in charge of domestic policy and worked as the deputy chairman of the presidential commission for modernization and headed the working group for the creation of the Skolkovo innovative centre. Actually all main political institutions – the parties, the governors, the president and the parliament – were in the scope of his functions, the former advisor of the chief of the presidential executive office and the president of the Foundation of Effective Policy Gleb Pavlovsky was cited by the newspaper as saying.

Surkov is one of the architects of the current political system, the creation of ‘sovereign democracy’ in the way it is now would be impossible without him, the former Right Cause co-chairman Leonid Gozman recalled. The pledge of success became the combination of Surkov’s personal talents and a firm conviction that the current strategy is right. Thanks to him the Russian opposition was divided in ‘system’ and ‘non-system’, a political scientist Alexei Makarkin recalled. He also developed the information policy of leading television channels and was an ideologue of the creation of youth movements, which were intended for the counteraction in case of ‘an orange revolution’. Surkov was also seeking to develop a state ideology of ‘sovereign democracy’, which did not turn in the official ideology after all. The failure of the recent attempt to reanimate the Right Cause Party under the leadership of Mikhail Prokhorov was directly linked with Surkov. Finally the latter engaged in an open conflict with the presidential executive office, branding Surkov as ‘the Kremlin puppet master’ and pledged to take all the efforts to make Surkov step down.

Gozman does not rule out that this dismissal is the demonstration of the conflict in the Russian leadership. An official in the presidential executive office confirmed that Surkov has his own opinion on the development of the events over massive rallies, and this opinion differs from that among Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s associates. The official recalled about his recent interview with the Izvestia daily, in which Surkov voiced an unexpected good attitude to the protesters against the election results and said that the best part of the society came on the Bolotnaya Square. This statement contradicted strongly with Putin’s statements about the protesters on the Bolotnaya Square that the prime minister made during a question-and-answer session with Russian citizens.

Right after the elections a Vedomosti source close to the presidential executive office noted that Putin’s associates are discontent with Surkov and noted that the latter did not avert and partially provoked a massive protest action, particularly with an information campaign against the Golos association for the protection of the rights of voters and staging the rallies of the Nashi movement and the United Russia Party.

Gozman assumed that Surkov’s dismissal should play the role of a ritual victim above all. He is dismissed as a symbol of political phenomena, which sparked up the protests. A source in the Kremlin confirmed that this is also one of the goals of reshuffles. Surkov acknowledged that he became “too odious for a nice new world.”

The latest reshuffles sooner mean that ‘a detailed roadmap’ of the authorities was developed for next few years, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. We witness that Sergei Ivanov, who is quite conservative as the chief of the presidential executive office, is supported by first deputy chief of the presidential executive office Vyacheslav Volodin, the Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. Actually Volodin replaced Vladislav Surkov, who was called as a grey figure of the Kremlin for many years.

The newspaper recalled that last summer Volodin actually cast a challenge to Surkov, who, according to leading Russian experts, initiated the creation of the All-Russian Popular Front for Vladimir Putin. The All-Russian Popular Front raised many questions. But now when it became clear after the December elections that United Russia lost its popularity in the society, the All-Russian Popular Front sounds like a political strategic and political base for Putin’s presidential campaign. Without the All-Russian Popular Front it was unclear who would nominate Putin. The only structure, which would nominate him for presidency, is the party, which lost substantially its influence in the society. So, Volodin’s far sightedness was evaluated worthily by presidential candidate Putin.

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