Architect of Putin’s System of Politics Is Reassigned
The Kremlin on Tuesday announced the reassignment of Vladislav Y. Surkov, the “gray cardinal” who has overseen Russia’s domestic political scene for more than a decade. The reassignment, made in the midst of a new protest movement against Vladimir V. Putin, Russia’s paramount leader, suggested that Mr. Putin is prepared to make changes in the tightly controlled system that emerged during his first and second presidential terms.
Mr. Surkov, the deputy head of the president’s administration, is considered the architect of the system under Mr. Putin and his protégé and successor as president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, which Mr. Surkov christened “sovereign democracy.” He will now oversee modernization and innovation as a deputy prime minister, but will take no role in domestic politics. Russia’s political system has come under unprecedented pressure this month from protesters who complain that elections offer them no alternative to Mr. Putin’s rigid model. Former finance minister Aleksei L. Kudrin, who this month presented himself as a potential leader for disgruntled liberals, said the move affecting Mr. Surkov suggests “political reforms are going to continue.”
“I consider him one of the designers of the system,” Mr. Kudrin said in an interview with Kommersant-FM. “Now, the system is being reconsidered. Other organizers are needed, with other views on the political system.”