Vladislav Surkov

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Vladislav Surkov

Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov (Russian: Владислав Юрьевич Сурков́) (born 21 September 1964)[1] is a Russian businessman and politician of Chechen descent.[2] He was First Deputy Chief of the Russian Presidential Administration from 1999 to 2011, during which time he was widely seen as the main ideologist of the Kremlin who proposed and implemented the concept of sovereign democracy in Russia. From December 2011 until May 2013 he served as the Russian Federation's Deputy Prime Minister.[3][4] After his resignation, Surkov became a personal adviser of Vladimir Putin on relationships with Abkhasia, South Ossetia and Ukraine.[5] In 2015, Ukraine accused Surkov of organizing snipers who killed protesters and police during the Ukrainian Euromaidan in January 2014,[6] [7] which was dismissed by the Russian government as absurd.[8]

Early years[edit]

In an interview published in the German Der Spiegel magazine in June 2005 Surkov stated that his father was ethnic Chechen and that he spent the first five years of his life in Chechnya[9] in Duba-yurt and Grozny[10][11] According to articles published in Russian newspapers he was born Aslambek Dudayev to Zinaida Antonovna Surkova (born 1935) and Andarbek (Yuriy) Danil'bekovich Dudayev, his father in Shali. Both were school teachers in Duba-yurt, Checheno-Ingush SSR.[2] After Surkov's parents separated, his mother moved to Lipetsk and changed his last name to the russified male version of her last name—Vladislav Surkov.[12]

From 1983 to 1985 Surkov served in a Soviet artillery regiment in Hungary, according to his official biography.[citation needed] Former Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov has stated in a 2006 TV interview that Surkov served in the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU).[13]

After his military training Surkov was accepted[when?] to Moscow Institute of Culture for a five-year program in theater direction, but spent only three years there.[citation needed] Surkov graduated from Moscow International University with a master's degree in economics in the late 1990s.[citation needed]

Business career 1988-1998[edit]

In the late 1980s when the government lifted the ban against private businesses, Surkov started out in business. He became head of the advertisement department of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's businesses.[when?] From 1991 to April 1996 he held key managerial positions in advertisement and PR departments of Khodorkovsky's Bank Menatep. From March 1996 to February 1997 he was at Rosprom and since February 1997 with Mikhail Fridman's Alfa-Bank.[citation needed]

In September 2004 Surkov was elected president of the board of directors of the oil products transportation company Transnefteproduct, but was instructed by Russia's prime minister Mikhail Fradkov to give up the position in February 2006.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

Deputy Chief of the Russian Presidential Administration 1999-2011[edit]

After a brief career as a director for public relations on the Russian television ORT channel from 1998 to 1999, he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the President of the Russian Federation in 1999.[citation needed]

In March 2004, he was additionally appointed as aide to the president.[citation needed] He has been described as the "Grey Cardinal", a behind the scenes actor with much influence, similar to Mikhail Suslov. He is allegedly the main supporter of Ramzan Kadyrov in Putin's entourage.[citation needed]

Since 2006, Surkov has advocated a political doctrine he has called sovereign democracy, to counter democracy promotion conducted by the USA and European states.[14] Judged by some Western media as controversial, this view has not generally been shared by Russian media and the Russian political elite.[15] Surkov sees this concept as a national version of the common political language that is going to be used when Russia is talking to the outside world.[15] As the most influential ideologist of "sovereign democracy", Surkov gave two programmatic speeches in 2006: "Sovereignty is a Political Synonym of Competitiveness" in February[16] and "Our Russian Model of Democracy is Titled Sovereign Democracy" in June 2006.[17]

On 8 February 2007, Moscow State University marked the 125th anniversary of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's birthday with a high-level conference "Lessons of the New Deal for Modern Russia and the World" attended, among others, by Surkov and Gleb Pavlovsky. Surkov drew an explicit parallel between Roosevelt and Russian president Putin, praising the legacy of Roosevelt's New Deal, and between the US of the 1930s and present-day Russia. Pavlovsky called on Putin to follow Roosevelt in staying for a third presidential term.[18][19][20]

In October 2009, Surkov warned that opening and modernization of Russia's political system, a need repeatedly stressed by President Dmitry Medvedev, could result in more instability and more instability "could rip Russia apart".[citation needed]

In September 2011, Mikhail Prokhorov quit Right Cause (political party in Russia), which he had led for five months. He condemned the party as a puppet of the Kremlin and named Surkov the "'puppet master' in the president's office", according to a report in The New York Times.[21] Prokhorov had hoped that Surkov would be fired from the Kremlin. According to sources from within the Kremlin Surkov would not disappear from the political stage.[22][full citation needed] At that time Reuters described Surkov in a profile as the Kremlin's 'shadowy chief political strategist', one of the most powerful men in the Kremlin and considered a close ally of then-Prime Minister Putin.[23]

Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Modernisation 2011-2013[edit]

On 28 December 2011, Medvedev reassigned Surkov to the role of "Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Modernisation" in a move interpreted by many to be fallout from the controversial Russian parliamentary elections of 2011.[24] At that time, Surkov described his past career as follows:[25] 'I was among those who helped Boris Yeltsin to secure a peaceful transfer of power; among those who helped President Putin stabilize the political system; among those who helped President Medvedev liberalize it. All the teams were great.'

During Putin's first two terms as president, Surkov was regarded as the Kremlin's "grey cardinal", having crafted Russia's system of "managed democracy", and having directed its propaganda principally through control of state run television,[26]

Personal advisor to Putin, 2013 to date[edit]

Since Putin's return to Presidency in 2012, Surkov had become marginalized as Putin "pursued a path of open repression over the cunning manipulation favoured by Surkov". Surkov has stated he offered to resign on 28 April 2013. Surkov had criticized the Kremlin's Investigative Committee, which has led investigations into opposition leaders, rather than the general prosecutor's office. The Committee has stated Surkov offered to resign on May 7, 2013.[27] Surkov became a personal adviser of Vladimir Putin on relationships with Abkhasia, South Ossetia and Ukraine.[5][28]

Ukrainian authorities accused Surkov in February 2015, that he had organized snipers who killed protesters and police during the Ukrainian Euromaidan in January 2014,[29][30] an accusation that was dismissed by Russian government as "absurd"[28]

On 17 March 2014, the day after the Crimean status referendum, Surkov became one of the first seven persons who were placed under executive sanctions by President Obama, freezing his assets in the US and banning him from entering the United States.[31]

Media depictions[edit]

Surkov is considered[by whom?] to have inspired creation of some youth pro-government political movements, including Nashi. He met with their leaders and participants several times and gave them lectures on the political situation.[32][33]

In 2013 Surkov has been characterized as the engineer of 'a system of make-believe', 'a land of imitation political parties, stage-managed media and fake social movements'.[34] British film maker Adam Curtis has said that Surkov has imported ideas from the avant-garde art world into politics in order to undermine the Western perception of the world, to make politics a piece of theatre, and create confusion.[11][35]

Personal life[edit]

Surkov married a second time in a civil ceremony in 1998 to Natalya Dubovitskaya, a former employee of Menatep bank.[13][36]

Surkov wrote the preface to the 2009 pseudonymous bestselling satirical novel Almost Zero. The author was "Natan Dubovitsky", which is the male form of his wife's last name. Conflicting statements in the preface added to the speculation that Surkov was the author of the novel.[11] Proceeding on that assumption, The Economist wrote that the novel "expos[ed] the vices of the system he himself had created".[37] A successful stage adaptation of the novel (sometimes translated as Nearby Zero[38]) has been presented by Kirill Serebrennikov.[11]

Surkov has composed songs[11] and written texts for the Russian rock musician Vadim Samoylov. He speaks English[citation needed] and is fond of poets such as Allen Ginsberg of the Beat Generation.[23]

Honours and awards[edit]

  • Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 3rd class (13 November 2003) – for outstanding contribution to strengthening Russian statehood and many years of diligent work
  • Gratitude of the President of the Russian Federation (18 January 2010, 12 June 2004 and 8 July 2003) – for active participation in the preparation of the President's address to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation
  • Medal of PA Stolypin, 2nd class (21 September 2011)
  • Diploma of the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation (2 April 2008) – for active support and substantial assistance in organizing and conducting the elections of the President of the Russian Federation
  • State Councillor of the Russian Federation, 1st class


  1. ^ "Беспартийный идеолог Владислав Сурков". Gazeta. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "5 Facts About Vladislav Surkov". The Moscow Times. 13 May 2013.
  3. ^ Vladislav Surkov has been appointed Deputy Prime Minister
  4. ^ Radio Free Europe: Russian President Accepts Resignation Of Deputy PM SurkovMay 8, 2013
  5. ^ a b Чем Владислав Сурков займется в Украине Екатерина Винокурова, 20 Сентября 2013 Forbes.ua
  6. ^ Ukraine accuses Russia over Maidan 2014 killings by BBC News
  7. ^ (Russian) Nemtsov Report: Putin. War. Ukrayinska Pravda. 12 May 2015
  8. ^ Kiev’s allegations that Surkov was behind Maidan developments in 2014 absurd — ForMin, by tass.ru
  9. ^ 'Der Westen muss uns nicht lieben,', Uwe Von Klußmann, Walter Mayr, Der Spiegel, 20 June 2005. Quote: "Ich selbst habe die ersten fünf Jahre meines Lebens in Tschetschenien zugebracht."
  10. ^ 'Владислав Сурков: "Запад не обязан нас любить",' in Inopressa Newsagency, 20 June 2005.
  11. ^ a b c d e Pomerantsev, Peter, 'Putin's Rasputin,' London Review of Books, 33 (20), 20 October 2011, pp. 3–6.
  12. ^ http://www.vokruginfo.ru/news/news14072.html
  13. ^ a b Сурков, Владислав Lenta.ru. date?
  14. ^ [1] title? cdi.org 2006
  15. ^ a b On Wednesday Political Elite Agreed to Speak Common Language, «Izvestia», 31 August 2006
  16. ^ Sovereignty is a Political Synonym of Competitiveness, Vladislav Surkov, public appearance, 7 February 2006
  17. ^ Our Russian Model of Democracy is Titled «Sovereign Democracy», Vladislav Surkov, briefing, 28 June 2006, edinros.ru
  18. ^ Владимир Владимирович Рузвельт/ Putin Asked to Follow FDR's Example, Kommersant, 9 February 2007.
  19. ^ Kremlin Official Compares Putin to Franklin D. Roosevelt, Moscow News, 9 February 2007.
  20. ^ Roosevelt Russia's ideological ally – Putin aide, RIA Novosti, 8 February 2007.
  21. ^ Kramer, Andrew E., and Ellen Barry, "Amid Political Rancor, Russian Party Leader Quits",The New York Times, 15 September 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2011.
  22. ^ Volkskrant 16-9-2011
  23. ^ a b Faulconbridge, Guy "Kremlin "puppet master" faces errant oligarch", Reuters, 16 September 2011. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  24. ^ "Putin ejects Kremlin 'puppet master' after protests", Associated Press via The Guardian, 27 December 2011.
  25. ^ The gray cardinal leaves the Kremlin, Russia Beyond the Headlines, 28 December 2011.
  26. ^ Mastermind behind Putins power play The Daily Beast. 19 March 2014
  27. ^ Vladimir Putin's former 'cardinal' forced out of government Miriam Elder, The Guardian, 8 May 2013
  28. ^ a b Kiev’s allegations that Surkov was behind Maidan developments in 2014 absurd — ForMin, tass.ruFebruary 20, 2015
  29. ^ Ukraine accuses Russia over Maidan 2014 killings by BBC News, 20 February 2015
  30. ^ Putin's aide Surkov pulled the strings as snipers shot at Maidan protesters – Ukraine's SBU Belarus TV, Belsat.eu. 20 February 2015. According to SBU director Nalyvaichenko, they have identified some of the shooters and "as part of this case we have job titles, last names, copies of passports, dates of their entry and departure, their telephone providers and places of accommodation, [we know] how president Putin's adviser Surkov was coordinating their actions in Kyiv,"
  31. ^ Logiurato, Brett (17 March 2014). "Obama Just Announced Sanctions Against 7 Russian 'Cronies'". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  32. ^ [2] ncsj.org[dead link]
  33. ^ Youth group hounds UK Moscow Ambassador Financial Times date?(subscription required)
  34. ^ An ideologue’s exit What the departure of Vladislav Surkov means for the government The Economist May 9th 2013 (subscription required)
  35. ^ Charlie Brookers Screen Wipe, surkov You Tube date?
  36. ^ Surkov bio anticompromat.ru
  37. ^ "The long life of Homo sovieticus", The Economist, 10 December 2011 (issue date). Retrieved 8 December 2011.
  38. ^ Program, The 10th Chekhov International Theatre Festival (CITF), 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011.

External links[edit]