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Vladislav Surkov

This is likely to interest only about three people on my flist, and they know who they are.  The article appeared in the Financial Times on 6/29/2006.

Senior Putin aide attacks foreign criticim of Russian democracy
(Financial Times, 29 June 2006)

The man considered the chief ideolgist to Russia's President Vladimir Putin yesterday launched a robust defence of the country's democratic system and accused foreign critics of double standards.

In the most direct rebuff yet by Moscow of highly critical comments last month by Dick Cheney, US vice-president, and the increasing western criticism of Russia's "backsliding" on democracy, Vladislav Surkov, a deputy Kremlin chief of staff, accused Mr. Cheney of "not properly understanding Russia".  He also hinted at hypocrisy by the US vice-president in disparaging Russia's political record and then visiting Kazakhstan, the former Soviet republic run by the authoritarian Nursultan Nazarbayev.

"When he was in Kazakhstan after criticising our democaracy, he gave the highest rating to Kazakhstan's democracy," Mr. Surkov told foreign journalists in a rare public appearance.  "The Kazakh people are our brothers.  But I will never agree that Kazakhstan has gone further in building democracy than we havae." 

Mr. Surkov, a senior official who usually prefers to operate behind the scenes, is viewed in Russia as the Kremlin's political mastermind, creator of the dominant United Russia party and one of the main string-pullers in the country's system of "managed democracy".

In the 1960s he worked for Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the now jailed former Yukos chief, and Mikhail Fridman, another "oligarch" who heads the Alfa Group, the financial and industrial concern, before joining the administration of President Boris Yeltsin.

But Mr. Surkov was scathing in his assessment of the oligarchs, businessmen who used their wealth to achieve political power, saying they damaged the country's development and produced a system by the end of the 1990s that in no way could be considered democratic.
"What are we backsliding from?" he said.  "We are moving further and further away from this non-democracy."

Mr. Surkov declined to recognise "managed democracy" as a description of Russia's political system - although  Mr. Putin himself was one of the first to use the term.  Instead Mr. Surkov suggested managed democracy was something other unnamed global powers were attempting to impose outside their borders.

"By managed democracy we understand political and economic regimes imposed by centres of global influence - and I am not going to mention specific countries - by force and deception," he said.  Instead, Mr. Surkov said Russia considered itself a "sovereign democracy", a term he has used in recent months as the foundation of an emerging Kremlin ideology.

"That doesn't mean anything special.  It means that in building an open society we don't forget that we are a free society and don't want to be ruled from outside."

He added that Russia was tired of being treated as if it had lost the cold war.

"We don't consider that we were defeated in the cold war.  We believe that we defeated our own totalitarian system," he said.  "It's clear to us that Moscow did far more to democratise eastern Europe and central Asia than Washington or London.  Moscow democratised this huge space that is now regenerating itself."


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 2nd, 2006 04:05 pm (UTC)
This has nothing to do with your article but did you see the picture of Putin kissing a child's belly? Creepy.
Jul. 3rd, 2006 08:38 pm (UTC)
I am really interested to hear reactions to Putin's little... whatever it was. Creepy is a new one. Tavi thought it was paedophilic, what did you say it was? I'm still somewhere among bemused, amused, and intrigued.

Anyway, a typo, I think - I did a double take, for two reasons, when I read that Surkov was working for Misha in the 1960s... maybe that should be 1990s?

Anyway... You know who it interests, and likely know our reactions as well... *waves a little Russian flag* Go Russia!
Jul. 3rd, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC)
(okay, and I can't help but link to this...)
Jul. 3rd, 2006 08:58 pm (UTC)
crap... sorry about the formatting
Jul. 3rd, 2006 09:11 pm (UTC)
I swear I will stop spamming (I just don't promise when):

MOSCOW, July 3 2006-Forget politics, oligarchs and Chechnya. What Russians really want to ask their leader is when he lost his virginity, when he will legalise marijuana and when a giant fictional octopus sleeping at the bottom of the ocean will awaken.

These are at least some of the most popular questions being put by Russian web surfers to President Vladimir Putin on the Yandex website in preparation for a July 6 interactive Internet question-and-answer session...


I'm only really interested in one of those questions... and it isn't the one about the octopus...
Jul. 3rd, 2006 09:16 pm (UTC)

"One question for the Russian president from a source identified as a 17-year-old female named Nastya asked: "At what age did you start meeting girls and when did you have sex for the first time?""

The gall of some people! That's a very personal question, and I don't think that Vlad is in any possible mood to answer that one!!! *weeps*
Jul. 4th, 2006 02:49 pm (UTC)
Fictional?! You mean you don't believe in the Great Old One?!

Hmm..I think I did read in that book that young Vlad fancied himself a bit of a ladies' man...
Jul. 4th, 2006 06:04 pm (UTC)
Jul. 4th, 2006 10:10 pm (UTC)
He shall rise and His kingdom shall cover the Earth!
Jul. 5th, 2006 03:16 am (UTC)
Oh sigh.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )