Vladislav Surkov Explained

Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov (Russian: Владисла́в Ю́рьевич Сурко́в) (b. September 21, 1964, either in 1962, Solntsevo, Lipetsk Oblast, Soviet Union[1], or Shali, Checheno-Ingush ASSR, Soviet Union[2] [3]), is a Russian businessman and politician. Currently he is a First Deputy Chief of Staff of the President of the Russian Federation and a top aide to Vladimir Putin. Vladislav Surkov is widely seen as the main ideologist of the Kremlin. Allegedly he contributed greatly to Vladimir Putin electoral victory in 2004.

Early years

He was born to Zinaida Antonovna Surkova, his mother (b. 1935), and his father Andarbek (Yuriy) Danil'bekovich Dudayev, both of whom were school teachers in Duba-yurt, Checheno-Ingush SSR, as Aslambek Dudayev. It is not until 1969 that his name was officially changed to Vladislav Surkov after moving with his mother to the Lipetsk region shortly after his family had been abandoned by his father.

Having completed his secondary school studies, Surkov entered Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys in 1982, where he made a friend of Vladimir Solovyov, now a leading pro-government TV journalist, and Mikhail Fridman, now an oil tycoon, but failed to graduate as he had been conscripted into the military service, which around that time had become compulsory in USSR even for students. He served from 1983 - 1985 in a Soviet artillery regiment in Hungary, according to his official biography, or, as the former Russia's Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov claimed in a TV interview on November 12, 2006, in the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Stuff (GRU)http://lenta.ru/lib/14159273/full.htm.

After his military training Surkov was accepted to Moscow Institute of Culture for a five-year program in theater direction, but spent only three years there.Surkov graduated from Moscow International University with a master's degree in economics long after that in the late 90s.

Business career

Meanwhile, in the late 80s he started as a businessman as the government lifted the ban against private businesses. He becomes a head of the advertisement department of Mikhail Khodorkovsky's businesses. During the 1990s he held key managerial positions in advertisement and PR departments of Khodorkovsky's Bank Menatep (1991- April 1996) and Rosprom (March 1996-February 1997) and Fridman's Alfa Bank (since February 1997).

In September 2004 Surkov was elected president of the board of directors of the oil Open Joint Stock Co. "AK Transnefteprodukt", but was instructed by Russia's PM Mikhail Fradkov to give up the position in February 2006.

Political career

After a brief career as a director for public relations on the Russian television ORT channel (1998-1999) he was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of the President of the Russian Federation in 1999. In March 2004, Surkov was appointed an aide to the president, retaining the official title of Deputy Chief of Staff. He is seen as the "Grey Cardinal", a behind the scenes actor with much influence, the same as Mikhail Suslov. He is also allegedly the main supporter of Ramzan Kadyrov in Putin's entourage.

Surkov is widely considered 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 political situation.http://www.ncsj.org/AuxPages/030205RFERL_Putin.shtmlhttp://www.ft.com/cms/s/15054982-8661-11db-86d5-0000779e2340.html

He advocates the political doctrine he calls sovereign democracy, a controversial attempt to counter democracy promotion conducted by USA and European stateshttp://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/2006-212-37.cfm. While some Western media may see the attempt as controversial, this view is not generally shared by Russian media and Russian political elite.[4] Surkov himself 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.[4]

Being the most influential ideologist of «sovereign democracy», Surkov went public with two programme speeches, «Sovereignty is a Political Synonym of Competitiveness» [5] and «Our Russian Model of Democracy is Titled Sovereign Democracy» [6]

On February 8,2007, the Moscow State University marked the 125th anniversary of U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's birthday with high-level conference "Lessons of the New Deal for Modern Russia and the World" attended, among others, by Vladislav Surkov and Gleb Pavlovsky. There Surkov drew an explicit parallel between the U.S. president and Russian president Vladimir Putin, praising the legacy of Roosevelt's New Deal, and between the U.S. of the 1930s and present-day Russia. Gleb Pavlovsky called on Putin to follow Roosevelt in staying for the third presidential term.[7] [8] [9]

Private issues

Besides his political and business activities, he has been engaged in song composition and is the author of some recent texts of the Russian rock group Agata Kristi.

Surkov speaks English. Data on his private life are controversial. He is or was married to Yulia Vishnevskaya, the sister of Anatoly Chubais's wife. Vishnevskaya holds a renowned puppet collection. Surkov and Vishnevskaya have a son, who either lives in London with his mother or is a student of the Moscow State University, according to different sources. It is rumoured that Surkov has two more children with a former employee of the Menatep bankhttp://lenta.ru/lib/14159273/full.htmhttp://www.anticompromat.ru/surkov/surkbio.html.

In June 2005 it became public for the first time after his interview was published in the German Der Spiegel magazine (original article: http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/0,1518,361084,00.html ; Russian translations: http://www.inosmi.ru/translation/220396.html http://www.inopressa.ru/spiegel/2005/06/20/16:58:17/surkov ; English translation: http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/spiegel/0,1518,361236,00.html) that his father was an ethnic Chechen and he spent the first five years of his life in Chechnya in Duba-yurt and Grozny. Follow-up articles published in Russian newspapers (http://www.vokruginfo.ru/news/news14072.html) said that his father's name was Andarbek Dudayev (though not closely related to Dzhokhar Dudayev). Surkov's birth name was Aslambek Dudayev, born in Shali. After his parents separated, his mother moved to Lipetsk and changed his name to the Russified version — Vladislav Surkov. His official biography still lists Surkov as name and Solntsevo village of Lipetsk province as birthplace.


At a news conference held before G8 summit in June 2006, Surkov was quoted as saying "they tell us about democracy while thinking about our hydrocarbons",[10] referring to the criticism on the situation with human rights, freedom of speech and democracy in Russia commonly heard from the West. This was followed by even more sharp stance towards him taken by some Western media.[11] Critics of Western coverage in Russia quote factual errors in such coverage and purposeful selection of respondents for such coverage that have no credibility at home and who do not represent majority opinion of Russian general public.[12]

At a round table with leaders of most influential political forces in Russia dedicated to discussion of the concept of «sovereign democracy» that was held in August 2006, Surkov was quoted as saying the following on the matter: "We need to have our own voice. I don't think our target is to create some unheard exotics and to tell some self-contained things that our conversational partners would be unable to understand. Of course, not. But we should have our own version of the political language. The one who does not talk he is listening, and the one who is listening he obeys. If we are an independent nation, we should be participating in conversation. If we in Russia do not create our own discourse, our own public philosophy, our national ideology that would be acceptable for the majority of our citizens (at least for the majority, and preferably for all), then they are simply not going to talk to us and reckon with us. What is the point of talking to mute?"[4]

External links

Notes and References

  1. http://surkov.info/publ/2-1-0-5
  2. http://www.anticompromat.ru/surkov/surkbio.html Юмрхйнлопнлюр.Пс
  3. http://lenta.ru/lib/14159273/full.htm Lenta.ru: : яСПЙНБ, бКЮДХЯКЮБ
  4. http://www.izvestia.ru/politic/article3096139/?print On Wednesday Political Elite Agreed to Speak Common Language
  5. http://www.edinros.ru/news.html?id=111148 Sovereignty is a Political Synonym of Competitiveness
  6. http://www.edinros.ru/news.html?id=114108 Our Russian Model of Democracy is Titled «Sovereign Democracy»
  7. http://www.kommersant.com/p741228/Putin_Roosevelt_Third_Term/ Владимир Владимирович Рузвельт/ Putin Asked to Follow FDR’s Example
  8. http://www.mosnews.com/news/2007/02/09/putinroosvelt.shtml Kremlin Official Compares Putin to Franklin D. Roosevelt
  9. http://en.rian.ru/russia/20070208/60427066.html Roosevelt Russia's ideological ally - Putin aide
  10. http://en.g8russia.ru/news/20060704/1168817.html News conference of Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov, Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration
  11. http://www.inosmi.ru/stories/01/05/29/2996/231759.html Putin's Pitchman Inside Kremlin as It Tightens Its Grip
  12. http://www.izvestia.ru/politic/article3099704/?print Translation Difficulties