Vladislav Surkov

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Vladislav Surkov
Vladislav Surkov 7 May 2013.jpeg
Deputy Prime Minister of Russia — Head of the Government Executive Office
In office
21 May 2012 – 8 May 2013
Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
In office
27 December 2011 – 21 May 2012
First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia
In office
15 May 2008 – 27 December 2011
Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia
In office
3 August 1999 – 12 May 2008
Personal details
Born Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov
Владислав Юрьевич Сурков

(1964-09-21) 21 September 1964 (age 53)
Political party United Russia
Alma mater International University in Moscow

Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov (Russian: Владислав Юрьевич Сурков́) (born 21 September 1964),[1] born Dudayev (Russian: Дудаев), 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. His pen name is supposedly Nathan Dubovitsky.[3]

From December 2011 until May 2013 Surkov served as the Russian Federation's Deputy Prime Minister.[4][5] After his resignation, Surkov returned to the Presidential Executive Office and became a personal adviser of Vladimir Putin on relationships with Abkhasia, South Ossetia and Ukraine.[6]

Early years

According to Surkov's official biography he was born 21 September 1964 in Solntsevo, Lipetsk Oblast.[7][8] As per other statements he was born in Shali[9] as Aslambek Dudayev.[2] His parents, the ethnic Russian Zinaida Antonovna Surkova (born 1935) and Andarbek (Yuriy) Danil'bekovich Dudayev (born 1942) were school teachers in Duba-yurt, Checheno-Ingush SSR.[9] Following the separation of his parents, his mother moved to Lipetsk where he adopted her surname.[2] In an interview published in June 2005 in the German magazine Der Spiegel Surkov stated that his father was ethnic Chechen and that he spent the first five years of his life in Chechnya[10] in Duba-yurt and Grozny[11][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 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

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

Deputy Chief of the Russian Presidential Administration 1999-2011

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.[3]

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]

Vladislav Surkov in April 2010

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

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.'

Surkov on his last day as Deputy Prime Minister in a meeting with Sergey Ivanov (Chief of Presidential Staff) and his ministerial colleague Arkady Dvorkovich

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". As a Deputy Prime Minister 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 he offered to resign on May 7, 2013 whereas Surkov has stated he offered to resign on 28 April 2013. Putin signed it on 8 May 2013.[26][27]

Personal advisor to Putin, 2013 to date

During Putin's first two terms as president, Surkov was regarded as the Kremlin's "grey cardinal", having crafted Russia's system of "sovereign democracy", and having directed its propaganda principally through control of state run television.[28] and on 20 September 2013 Vladimir Putin appointed Surkov as his Aide in the Presidential Executive Office.[8] who became Putin's personal adviser on relationships with Abkhasia, South Ossetia and Ukraine.[6][29]

On 17 March 2014, the day after the Crimean status referendum, Surkov became one of the first eleven persons who were placed under executive sanctions on the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN) by President Obama, freezing his assets in the US and banning him from entering the United States.[30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][lower-alpha 1] Surkov responded to this by telling: "The only things that interest me in the US are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work."[41]

On March 21, 2014, the European Union (EU) placed Surkov on its sanction list barring him from entering the EU and freezing his assests in the EU.[42][43]

In February 2015, Ukrainian authorities accused Surkov of organizing snipers to kill protesters and police during the Ukrainian Euromaidan in January 2014.[44][45][46] This accusation was dismissed by the Russian government as "absurd".[29]

Media depictions

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.[47][48]

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'.[49] 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.[12][50]

Personal life

Surkov married a second time in a civil ceremony in 1998 to Natalya Dubovitskaya, a former employee of Menatep bank.[13][51]

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.[12] Proceeding on that assumption, The Economist wrote that the novel "expos[ed] the vices of the system he himself had created".[52] A successful stage adaptation of the novel (sometimes translated as Nearby Zero[53]) has been presented by Kirill Serebrennikov.[12]

Surkov has composed songs[12] 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

  • 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

See also


  1. The individuals on the first list of United States sanctions for individuals or entities involved in the Ukraine crisis are Sergey Aksyonov, Sergey Glazyev, Andrei Klishas, Vladimir Konstantinov, Valentina Matviyenko, Victor Medvedchuk, Yelena Mizulina, Dmitry Rogozin, Leonid Slutsky, Vladislav Surkov, and Victor Yakunovich.[32][35]


  1. "Беспартийный идеолог Владислав Сурков". Gazeta. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 1 April 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "5 Facts About Vladislav Bratersky". The Moscow Times. May 13, 2013. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Storey, Peter (June 17, 2015). "Vladislav Surkov: The (Gray) Cardinal of the Kremlin". Cicero. Retrieved November 9, 2015. 
  4. Vladislav Surkov has been appointed Deputy Prime Minister
  5. "Russian President Accepts Resignation Of Deputy PM Surkov". Radio Free Europe. May 8, 2013. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Винокурова, Екатерина (September 20, 2013). "Чем Владислав Сурков займется в Украине". Forbes.ua. 
  7. "Сурков Владислав Юрьевич". government.ru (in Russian). March 12, 2012. Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Surkov, Vladislav". kremlin.ru. Retrieved October 12, 2015. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Маринин, Максим; Косарева, Ирина (July 13, 2005). "ЧЕЧЕНСКОЕ ДЕТСТВО СУРКОВА". scandaly.ru (in Russian). Archived from the original on 18 May 2008. 
  10. '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."
  11. 'Владислав Сурков: "Запад не обязан нас любить",' in Inopressa Newsagency, 20 June 2005.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Pomerantsev, Peter, 'Putin's Rasputin,' London Review of Books, 33 (20), 20 October 2011, pp. 3–6.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Сурков, Владислав. lenta.ru
  14. [1] title? cdi.org 2006
  15. 15.0 15.1 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. 23.0 23.1 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. Сурков Владислав Юрьевич. government.ru, 22 June 2013
  27. Miriam Elder: Vladimir Putin's former 'cardinal' forced out of government. The Guardian, 8 May 2013
  28. Anna Nemtsova, Eli Lake: Is This the Mastermind Behind Russia’s Crimea Grab? The Daily Beast. 19 March 2014
  29. 29.0 29.1 Kiev’s allegations that Surkov was behind Maidan developments in 2014 absurd — ForMin. tass.ru, February 20, 2015
  30. Logiurato, Brett (17 March 2014). "Obama Just Announced Sanctions Against 7 Russian 'Cronies'". Business Insider. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  31. "Ukraine and Russia Sanctions". United States State Department. Retrieved March 4, 2016. 
  32. 32.0 32.1 "Fact Sheet: Ukraine-Related Sanctions". The White House: Office of the Press Secretary. March 17, 2014. Retrieved March 4, 2016. 
  33. "Executive Order - Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine". The White House: Office of the Press Secretary. March 20, 2014. Retrieved March 4, 2016. 
  34. "Treasury Sanctions Russian Officials, Members Of The Russian Leadership’s Inner Circle, And An Entity For Involvement In The Situation In Ukraine". United States Department of the Treasury. 
  35. 35.0 35.1 "Issuance of a new Ukraine-related Executive Order; Ukraine-related Designations". United States Department of the Treasury. March 17, 2014. Retrieved March 4, 2016. 
  36. "Ukraine-related Designations". United States Department of the Treasury. March 20, 2014. Retrieved March 4, 2016. 
  37. "Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN)". United States Department of the Treasury. 
  38. Shuklin, Peter (March 21, 2014). "Putin's inner circle: who got in a new list of US sanctions". liga.net. Retrieved February 20, 2016. 
  39. President of The United States (March 10, 2014). "Ukraine EO13660" (PDF). Federal Register. Retrieved March 4, 2016. 
  40. President of The United States (March 19, 2014). "Ukraine EO13661" (PDF). Federal Register. Retrieved February 20, 2016. 
  41. Vladimir Putin's top aide Vladislav Surkov mocks US sanctions The Independent, 18 March 2014
  42. "Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 284/2014 of 21 March 2014 implementing Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine (EUR-Lex - 32014R0284 - EN)". EUR-Lex. 2014-03-21. 
  43. "Ukraine crisis: Russia and sanctions". BBC. December 19, 2014. Retrieved March 4, 2016. 
  44. Ukraine accuses Russia over Maidan 2014 killings. bbc.com, 20 February 2015
  45. Nemtsov Report: Putin. War. Ukrayinska Pravda, 12 May 2015
  46. Putin's aide Surkov pulled the strings as snipers shot at Maidan protesters – Ukraine's SBU. 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,"
  47. [2] ncsj.org Archived 24 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  48. Youth group hounds UK Moscow Ambassador Financial Times date?(subscription required)
  49. An ideologue’s exit What the departure of Vladislav Surkov means for the government The Economist May 9th 2013 (subscription required)
  50. Charlie Brookers Screen Wipe, surkov You Tube date?
  51. Surkov bio anticompromat.ru
  52. "The long life of Homo sovieticus", The Economist, 10 December 2011 (issue date). Retrieved 8 December 2011.
  53. Program, The 10th Chekhov International Theatre Festival (CITF), 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2011.

External links