Vladislav Surkov's Manifesto: Is “Putin's Teaching” Omnipotent?

Experts continue to discuss the latest article by Vladislav Surkov and the author of the text himself

Vladislav Surkov’s article “Putin’s Long State”, published earlier this week, has generated a lot of responses in the blogosphere. Moreover, one of the main questions for many commentators was the assumption: to whom is the article addressed? To Putin – to show that he is his most loyal supporter? His closest circle – they say, Putin has outlived his usefulness, you need to think about who will replace him? Russian oppositionists – so that they come to terms with the fact that they will never come to power? Or politicians in the West – they say, we in Russia are the same as you, only more cynical, and therefore more honest?
The following fragment of the publication in Nezavisimaya Gazeta aroused quite a lot of comments: “Russia stopped collapsing, began to recover and returned to its natural and only possible state of a great, growing community of nations that was gathering land. The indiscreet role assigned to our country in world history does not allow us to leave the stage or remain silent in the crowd, does not promise peace and predetermines the difficult nature of the local statehood ”.
Given the clear foreign policy message of the fragment, the correspondent of the Russian service of the Voice of America asked political observers and publicists living outside the Russian Federation to comment on Surkov’s article.
“The author of the article is bad, bored, sad and hard”
Sergei Parkhomenko, a Russian publisher, journalist and political columnist and now a visiting expert at the Kennan Institute in Washington, began his commentary: “I think this article is addressed to Mr. Surkov’s employers in the broadest sense of the word. And this is a desperate appeal of Mr. Surkov to remember him and entrust him with some important business with more or less broad powers “.
Parkhomenko defines the current specialization of the author of the article as “the special representative of the president for hopeless cases”, which, in his opinion, include issues related to Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Donbass.
“Apparently, he was terribly tired of sitting in this position, he has no powers, no money, no prospects, no influence, but all this is terribly desirable. So, with this article he addresses his promising employers. True, I don’t know who he now considers as such: personally, President Putin, or, perhaps, the head of his administration, Mr. Vaino, or the deputy head of the administration, Mr. Kirienko? Or maybe someone else. He waves a pen to them, reminds of himself and of his political science and propaganda capabilities. This is the meaning of this text “, – says Sergey Parkhomenko.
At the same time, he is convinced that the article “Putin’s Long State” should not be regarded as a reflection of any changes in the domestic or foreign policy of Russia. “This is a personal matter in the relationship between Mr. Surkov and his employers, nothing more. No particular influence should be attributed to this text. It’s just that the author of the article is somehow bad, bored, sad, hard, ”the expert concludes..
“Surkov wants to consolidate himself in the status of the main ideologist of the Putin regime”
Ukrainian political scientist Taras Berezovets believes that the discussed publication in Nezavisimaya Gazeta is aimed exclusively at the reader within the country and has no foreign policy orientation. “Now the vertical of Putin’s power has swayed – we saw this from the losses of the governors from the“ party of power ”. And the responsibility for this, of course, is borne by the administration of the Russian president, and we see that today it is, if not knocked out, then knocked down, “he said in an interview with the Voice of America Russian Service..
The article in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, according to the Kiev expert, is intended to reassure Surkov’s former colleagues: everything is in order, there is no cause for concern, we have a “deep people” and “deep state“ Puting ”. And let the enemies not hope that all this will quickly fall apart. And most importantly, Putin’s Russia is not even in the middle of the road, but at the beginning.
“It is interesting that Surkov draws historical parallels between the four“ deep states ”- those ruled by Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Lenin, and, finally, Putin. At the same time, it is interesting that such a respected character in Russian history as Catherine the Great, with whom the flourishing of the empire is associated, has not been named at all. But Grozny is mentioned, who, through repression, massacres and senseless wars with all neighbors, built a state that survived. This is the message of the “presidential administration” and personally to Putin, because, obviously, Mr. Surkov today lacks scale, and he wants to consolidate himself in the status of the main ideologue of the Putin regime. And for this reason, he is forced to give birth to new, but completely unviable ideological constructions “, – believes Taras Berezovets.
At the same time, the political scientist admits that the article contains a certain hidden message to both Ukraine and the West – they say, do not hope that economic sanctions will somehow change our policy. “But all the same, I think that the main addressee is inside Russia – this is both Putin’s elite and Putin himself. The author seems to say: “Vladimir Vladimirovich, we believe in your genius, we believe that everything will stand. And those who start looking for alternate airfields abroad and show weakness and hesitation will be very miscalculated. “.
Surkov deliberately bypassed the Ukrainian topic, there is not even half a word connected with the Crimea and Donbass, or with Ukraine as a whole. As if they don’t exist. This is another technique: we have problems, but in order not to be told about how complex they are, and with what difficulty they will have to be solved, we will not remember them. Our state is like a huge flywheel that is gaining momentum, and we don’t even pay attention to problems like Ukraine, ”Taras Berezovets sums up his comment..
“One of Russia’s problems is that it doesn’t know where it ends.”
Editor of the Czech newspaper “Hospodářské noviny” Ondřej Soukup on his FB page he called the article by Vladislav Surkov “an incredibly funny text by the former author of the concept of” sovereign democracy “who is terribly jealous of Alexander Dugin”.
Later, in a conversation with a correspondent for the Russian service of the Voice of America, the Czech journalist, in fact, repeated the idea expressed by both Sergei Parkhomenko and Taras Berezovets. “It seems to me that this article is some kind of application sent to the Russian president. And the essence of this application: please take me back, I no longer want to deal with Donbass, all these pseudo-Cossacks, “Motorola” and “Batman” have already gotten me, I want to do my favorite thing – geopolitics, ”says Ondřej Soukup.
And further, abstracting from the personality of the author, the Czech journalist continues, the very idea of ​​a certain “special role of Russia” set out in the article is not new. “Our former president, Vaclav Havel, wrote back in the early 90s that one of Russia’s problems is that it does not know where it ends. She doesn’t know how far she can go and when she must admit that her sphere of influence is over.
And I believe that this is a sign that Russia does not feel very comfortable in a changing world, and is holding a discussion within itself about its limits. It is clear that the Kremlin believes that the former Soviet Union is their sphere of influence, perhaps with the exception of the Baltic. But what, in this case, to do with the former “socialist camp”, or with the Balkans? And with other countries?
It seems to me that this discussion has been going on for the last 30 years, and if we compare it with something, it would be more correct to take into account the experience of Great Britain and France. How they tried to come to terms with the fact that they were no longer great colonial powers and how they built relations with their former colonies, ”says the editor of the newspaper Hospodářské noviny.

Vladislav Surkov: The Man Behind Oz

“Surkov expounded Putinism in a concentrated form”
Commentary by the next interlocutor of the Russian Voice of America Service – a researcher at Charles University in Prague, a political scientist Alexandra Morozova – became a kind of counterpoint to what the previous experts said.
“It seems to me that this text is not any request addressed to Putin,” he began. According to Morozov, the author of the article under discussion is in disgrace, from which he will not be able to get out. “In this case, he acts as a completely independent political philosopher and ideologist, which he has always been. We must be fair about Surkov: despite the fact that he is one of the darkest figures in Russian politics in the post-Soviet period, it should be given credit that he always wanted to personally act as an ideologist. Therefore, in different years he wrote a large series of articles of a corresponding nature: he wanted to be an ideologue of Medvedev’s modernization, he is the author of the concept of “sovereign democracy”. And here he again acts as an ideologist who wants to predict the future and shape it. Therefore, simple motivations, that everything depends on money, or on a career – this is not entirely true, “says Alexander Morozov.
Therefore, according to the political scientist, do not underestimate the last article by Vladislav Surkov. “What he did, namely: he presented Putinism in a concentrated form, looks terrifying. And to everyone who specializes in political theory, and to everyone who at least once heard the course “State and Law” at the university, it is absolutely clear that the doctrine of some kind of neo-fascism is being set forth here. It is presented victoriously, triumphantly, as a kind of new model for the whole world, and not just as a kind of achievement of an individual Putin, “says a researcher at Charles University.
Morozov emphasizes that each thesis outlined in the article was previously voiced by Vladimir Putin, and each provision of the article can be confirmed in the real political practice of Russia in recent years. “For example, when he says that the choice has been made, that there is no more choice, that we have chosen our destiny, that history is inevitability and predetermination, we see that in a sense, many other representatives of the political class of Russia also think so..
When in this article Surkov says that Putin’s ratings do not matter, because his power is based not on the trust that sociology fixes, but on the mystical trust between an imaginary “deep people” and its leader, and, indeed, a significant part the political class of Russia is guided by this. And this concept is the same as that of Mussolini and many other dictators of the first half of the twentieth century. And they were convinced that the people did not need any institutions, except for this dictator himself, through whom the people fully expressed themselves, ”reminds Alexander Morozov.

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