Vladislav Surkov is returning to leadership of the cabinet's religious affairs commission, which he headed from February through June, 2012. Prime Minister Medvedev signed the corresponding order for Surkov's new appointment and redistribution of duties in the government.
The first Deputy Chairman of the Muslim Spiritual Directorate of the European Part of Russia Damir Gizatullin expresses the hope that only Surkov was able to stabilize the situation in Tatarstan after the assassination of Deputy Mufti Waliullah Yakupov and attempted murder of Supreme Mufti Ildus Fayzov. The representative of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia Boruch Gorin agrees with him. He states that “not only in the government but also in the whole state there is no other official, whose understanding of our problems would be at Surkov’s level”.
But the greatest optimism about the new appointment was shown by the representative of the Russian Orthodox Church, archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin. “We have been discussing many important issues of cooperation for many years… And this dialog was not only bureaucratic but also intellectual”, the priest said. Previously the Commission on issues relating to religious associations focused mainly on purely practical issues such as draft laws and by-laws, property and financial organizations, and organization of pilgrimage. With the return of Surkov, the range of these issues will expand, Chaplin believes.
And he is certainly right about it. The transfer of the range of religious issues to Surkov is seen as an attempt to introduce an “anti-recessionary management”.
In 2012, several information scandals around the Russian Orthodox Church broke out at once. The media widely reported the judgment proceedings around the apartment of Patriarch Kirill in the prestigious “the House on the embankment” and also the story with retouched image of the expensive watch on his wrist. Recently it became known about the accident, which occurred on July 31. A two-seat sport BMW with diplomatic numbers that was under the control of Rector of the Church of Prophet Elijah Abbot Timothy (in the world - Alexey Podobedov) crashed into a Volkswagen Touareg. After the blow, the BMW flew out into oncoming traffic, where it crashed with a Toyota Corolla. According to eyewitnesses, at the time of the accident, the priest was drunk and refused to take health screening. The fact that Abbot Timothy was the Godfather of Fillip Kirkorov’s daughter just added some piquancy to the incident.
And certainly, the trial of three Pussy Riot band members, who held a “punk-prayer” in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, became the greatest scandal. It is obvious that the government itself has inflated this scandal to the world scale and demonstrated its inadequacy: the girls are being kept imprisoned for several months, they are being judged on almost medieval concepts. Actions in support of the girls are being held not only in Russia but throughout the whole world. Public politicians, artists and pop stars are advocating for their justification. Three petitions signed by more than 100 thousand people have been published on the Internet. There is only one way out of the crisis in the problem: the absolute cooperation of the Government and the Church is necessary. This task is assigned now to Surkov.
In 2008, he declared, “There has occurred fetishization of all temporary and transient - Progress, News, Gears, Consumption, Movement, Fashion, Hurry, and Commerce. And this is, frankly, quite good, because since then something has got to such temporary and transient creature as Man as well. Although it is still unclear who man to man is, public medicine, mass production, new technologies, the Internet, democracy, and many other things make life more interesting, more comfortable, and better. I'm serious – better and better. And it is worth fussing around and striving. It is silly to abandon socially useful activities and suddenly stop (for example, to a surgeon who has just made the cut) in thoughts on the eternal”.
Perhaps, right now unique opportunity to combine these two incompatible occupations is coming to Surkov and he is getting fussing and striving in thoughts on the eternal. Not only the greatly faltered prestige of the Russian Orthodox Church but also his own reputation as an effective manager in extreme circumstances depend on how well he will be able to carry out this task.
When a student, Surkov earned his living from making jeans that were hard-to-get at that time and from hack writing for enterprising publishers of Vladimir Gusinsky's team. He wrote romance novels full of teasing erotic scenes like "She put her arms around his knees and his hard penis --" They were very popular as during the Soviet period people could only read flat books censored by the Communist party.
Source: Stringer, 25 June 2003
Since the very start of his advertising career Vladislav Surkov preferred to take a shortcut in settling issues. Thus, in 1990 he paid a tidy sum to editors of Stolitsa magazine for promotion of Menatep Group. That kind of activity was not legally regulated at that time so both publishers and advertisers acted at their own risk.
Source: Kommersant, 2 July 2008
By the first half of 1990 lobbying practice had not been integrated in the State Duma yet. Since the Soviet time there had been a simple game plan left: a faction leader was summoned to the Kremlin, told what to vote for and promised a recompense and a kickback. Everything else went without system. Surkov and his associate deputy Vadim Boiko were rumoured to develop lobbying tactics and price list for services offered by Parliament members. The duo put it on a scientific basis and organized complicated and multilevel lobbying system.
Source: Stringer, 25 June 2003
In 1997 Surkov felt unappreciated and asked management of Menatep Group and Mikhail Khodorkovsky personally to make him a partner, let him took part in managing the group and raise his award fee for each official bribed. Khodorkovsky flatly refused to do that. Being too ambitious, Surkov quit Menatep Group. Since then his rancor has been much spoken about.
Source: forum-msk.org, 21 December 2005
While working for the TV company owned by Boris Berezovsky, Surkov said, "It's a myth that Boris Berezovsky does what he likes. The more so because Berezovsky is not a man of the conflict. On the contrary, he tries his best to avoid all these wars in future.''
Later, when invited to the Kremlin with Berezovsky's assistance, he had a hand in driving him out of media space. In 2002 Surkov said, ''Berezovsky seeks for a conflict. Obviously, he finally realized that he would get nothing from the people close to the president and went to the provinces to foment a rebellion."
Source: Moskovskiye Novosti, 19 February 2004
In autumn 1999 experts called Surkov "a brilliant communicator " and "a creative PR expert and consultant able to anticipate certain events." Surkov's first brainchild was reported to be Unity election bloc founded in 1999 as a counterweight to Yevgeny Primakov's and Yuri Luzhkov's Fatherland is the whole Russia bloc that was gaining popularity at the moment. Actually, Surkov borrowed an idea of establishing a powerful alliance of the regional officials loyal to the Kremlin from Boris Berezovsky and former deputy head of Presidential Administration Sergei Zverev.
After Unity had allied with Fatherland Surkov, while speaking at a meeting ofFatherland's members in July 2001, said that at last it was possible to correct " a historic mistake" and to overcome the "cleavage" between Unity and Fatherland which had formerly been political opponents. In 2003 the bloc was renamed as United Russiapolitical party. Surkov at the same time was called a co-founder and the main ideologist of United Russia as a "party of the power". Surkov was also said to lead the party to victory in parliamentary elections in December 2003.
Source: RIA Novosti, 11 July 2001, Political news Agency, 22 April 2005
Surkov was directly involved in establishing several youth movements in Russia. For instance, he was associated with Going Together pro-presidential youth movement founded in 2000. The movement was headed by former employee of the Presidential Administration Vasily Yakimenko. The first major event arranged by Going Together was a meeting held in the centre of Moscow on 7 November 2000. The movement brought together about 6000 people who called upon for "no drinking", "no smoking", "no using dirty language" and for ''supporting Vladimir Putin''. Going Together was reported to be "a failure" as the movement became notorious for its narrow-mindedness and eventually began to discredit Putin in the opinion of both domestic and world public.Going Together was reported to be founded only for money making.
Source: Kommersant, 21 February 2005
In 2005 The Ours movement was established to replace Going Together. On 21 February 2005 in St. Petersburg Surkov and Yakimenko met with "commissars" of the new youth movement. They tried to avoid the attention of mass media.
Surkov and Yakimenko promised to their supporters that by 2008 a new "party of the power" would be founded on the basis of The Ours. They emphasized that their plan had been approved by Vladimir Putin.
In summer 2005 3000 activists from 45 regions of Russia gathered at the camp of The Ours on Seliger lake. Advisor to the head of the Presidential Administration Gleb Pavlovsky arrived at the rally and urged the activists to be ready "to resist physically attempted unconstitutional coup". Surkov, in turn, said, "Grow up quickly and we will give you the country." The Ours soon got low reputation and, in fact, repeated all the mistakes of Going Together.
Source: Polit.Ru, 16 December 2005
Surkov's original philosophy is that there is no freedom in the world. He believes that all democratic systems are actually manageable, so that the key to success is the ability to influence people giving them an illusion of freedom despite virtual governance. According to Surkov, the only freedom is "the artistic one''.
And so in 2006 Surkov developed an unconventional concept of "sovereign democracy" and took part in establishing the second wing of the political system in Russia, Just Russia, that was to become a party to a full-fledged two-party system. It is therefore suspected that Surkov contributed to liquidation of Yukos in 2003. His grudge against Khodorkovsky only aggravated the conflict, but the real reason was Khodorkovsky's attempt to finance SPS opposition party and the Communist Party, that is, to beat Surkov.
Source: Kommersant, 22 November 2010
In 2011 Surkov masterminded the ban on initial public offering of the securities of Domodedovo international airport in London. Government bodies had been coming on the largest private airport in Russia since summer 2010 when Master Bank, which serviced Surkov's agencies, refused to meet their credit obligations attached to the securities of a contractor of Domodedovo airport for about $ 1 billion rubles.
The largest action of the campaign against the owners of Domodedovo was a terrorist attack at the airport on 24 January 2011 in which 35 people were killed. A few hours later Surkov's analysts reported to president Medvedev that primary responsibility for making the attack possible should be imposed on the airport administration. The report seemed to be carefully prepared beforehand.
Surkov was rumoured to plan bringing a network of Moscow airports under a single control, so he sought to take Domodedovo from its current owners. It was said that Surkov was going to leave the Kremlin in 2012 therefore he tried to arrange for himself a job as a manager of the united network of Moscow airports.
Source: Stringer.Ru, 31 May 2011