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WoE: Could Surkov Replace Kadyrov – an Almaaty 1986 All Over Again?

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  • Norbert Strade
    Window on Eurasia: Could Surkov Replace Kadyrov – an Almaaty 1986 All Over Again? Paul Goble Staunton, September 24 – Ramzan’s Kadyrov’s increasingly
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 23, 2013
      Window on Eurasia: Could Surkov Replace Kadyrov – an Almaaty 1986 All Over Again?

      Paul Goble

      Staunton, September 24 – Ramzan’s Kadyrov’s increasingly independent approach as head of Chechnya and Vladislav Surkov’s return as an aide to President Vladimir Putin with responsibilities for the North Caucasus in the Kremlin has sparked speculation that Surkov might replace Kadyrov in order to demonstrate Moscow’s power and bring Grozny to heal.

      But such a step is highly unlikely not only because of Surkov’s style – he is more a gray cardinal than a public politician – but also because such a purge of a non-Russian leader would recall for many Mikhail Gorbachev’s clumsy replacement of Dinmukhamed Kunayev as first secretary of the Kazakhstan SSR in December 1986.

      The Soviet president took this step because he said he could not find a reliable ethnic Kazakh but that claim was immediately shown to be false when Moscow named an ethnic Kazakh to be number two after riots in the streets of the then-capital of that republic, riots that reflected both ethnic and class divides.

      The Russian Gorbachev had installed, Gennady Kolbin who had been Moscow’s watcher as number two in the Georgian SSR earlier, was soon gone and replaced by his Kazakh number two as Moscow struggled to control the situation. But this demonstration of Moscow’s inability to make unilateral decisions on ethnic issues helped accelerate the disintegration of the USSR.

      Nonetheless in the murky world of high Kremlin politics and Moscow’s troubled relations with Chechnya almost any speculation even of a kind that appears impossible is worth examining because of the light it possibly throws on developments about which little or nothing is known for sure.

      In a 1400-word essay posted on Kavkazia.net on Saturday, Maksim Malofeyev points out that Surkov has a record of talking Kadyrov out of steps that would have sparked controversy: In 2004, the Moscow official convinced Kadyrov that it would be a bad idea to rename Grozny Akhmat-kala after the latter’s father (kavkasia.net/Russia/article/1379825131.php).

      But that retreat by Kadyrov has not led him to be more cautious. In 2010, for example, he refused to mark the 140th anniversary of the founding of Grozny by Russian forces; he has staked out a position for himself as defenders of ethnic Chechens across Russia; and he has pushed for the Grozny mosque to be the symbol of Russia.

      Consequently, however slavishly loyal Kadyrov has been to Putin, the Chechen leader has managed to offend many Russians and possibly the Russian president himself by actions that Moscow would not have tolerated in the case of any other non-Russian or Russian regional leader.

      Malofeyev suggests that the Kremlin might have been willing to overlook Kadyrov’s expansive behavior had he kept it within the bounds of Chechnya and the Chechens, but the Grozny leader has not: He has attacked the head of Rosneft and the head of Ingushetia, he has demanded more money from the center, and “before the Olympiad and the 150th anniversary of the end of the Caucasus War,” he has erected a statue to Chechens who resisted Russia then.

      Many in Moscow undoubtedly feel that Kadyrov should be removed, and some, Malofeyev suggests, may see Surkov as a good candidate. “Surkov has publically declared that he is proud that he can be called Ramzan’s brother,” and Kadyrov in turn said that Surkov could “take his place” after the latter lost his earlier Kremlin post.

      But would Grozny be “too small a post for Surkov?” Perhaps not because already the status of head of Chechnya is higher than that of the presidential plenipotentiary for the North Caucasus and because Chechnya is the last fragment of [Surkov’s] political model – the classic manifestation of sovereign democracy in action.”

      The installation of Surkov in place of Kadyrov, Malofeyev, would also have the benefit of reassuring at least some of Kadyrov’s men that they would not be pushed out. In fact, at least some of them would view Surkov as a guarantor of “the status quo.” But how long that would last is anyone’s guess.

      Surkov certainly wouldn’t be satisfied with just Chechnya, however. He would likely use such a post to promote the regional amalgamation plan with which he has been associated and press for the reunification of Chechnya and Ingushetia “or more precisely the Anschluss of the latter.”

      The current Kremlin aide would likely want that to happen by 2018, a date which corresponds to the next Russian presidential election. Surkov could thus ensure that the North Caucasus would vote for Putin, and Putin in turn could then bring Surkov back in “triumph” to Moscow, Malofeyev continues.
      ck
      But the Russian analyst acknowledges there are problems: Surkov is a Chechen but a Chechen who has converted to Russian Orthodoxy. That alone would offend many Chechens just as having an ethnic Russian who has converted to Islam become “the mayor of Moscow or the governor of Ivanovo Oblast.”

      As for Kadyrov, Malofeyev says, “alas, the moor has done his work” and can go, possibly as Russian representative to the Organization for Islamic Cooperation or to some anti-terrorist position or to the post of an advisor of the Russian president on Afghanistan and Central Asia.

      Kadyrov would likely prefer the first because he could live in one of his palaces and would be beyond the reach of Russian law enforcement. But of course, in this scenario of his replacement by Surkov, he would unlikely have a choice. More important, however, is something else: does Moscow really have a choice on who will run Chechnya? Or have things gotten to the point that any change would eliminate many of its remaining levers of control?

      http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.de/2013/09/window-on-eurasia-could-surkov-replace.html
      -------------------------------------------------------------

      Well, Kadyrov has many ugly roles, but two of them are the most prominent: 1- to "Chechenize" the Russian aggression in political coordination with the fake "emirate" (in the sense that the two groups push Chechens to attack each other instead of the Russian occupation troops); 2 - the most important - to become the scapegoat for all the crimes and failures of the fascist Russian regime in the North Caucasus. So when the Russian pundits begin to discuss his removal, the day for this manoeuvre might be approaching. On the other hand, from a long-term historical viewpoint, the name of the incumbent satrap isn't that important. N.S.
    • mariuslab2002
      Same Old Kremlin, Same Old Surkov 08 October 2013 | Issue 5229 By Vladimir Ryzhkov The decision by President Vladimir Putin to appoint Vladislav Surkov as a
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 7, 2013

         

        Same Old Kremlin, Same Old Surkov

        08 October 2013 | Issue 5229

        The decision by President Vladimir Putin to appoint Vladislav Surkov as a presidential aide for social and economic relations with Abkhazia and Ossetia came as a bombshell to the political establishment, surprising nearly everyone and shocking many. It also revealed a great deal about the way Putin rules Russia today.


        First, Surkov was appointed shortly after he celebrated his 49th birthday, making the new job seem like a gift that Putin chose to bestow upon one of his key associates. For centuries, Russian politics has been heavily influenced by purely personal and emotional motives, and this appointment is no exception.


        Rumor has it that Putin had a meeting with Surkov on Sept. 20 and issued a decree for his appointment the very same day.Second, Putin consistently pursues an extremely conservative staffing policy, moving the same people from one senior post to another. In this case, Surkov replaced Tatyana Golikova, who had previously served as the health and social development minister and who will now head the Audit Chamber. Similarly, former Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev was recently named deputy prime minister and presidential envoy to the Far East Federal District. Putin reshuffles the same cast of players, rarely reaching beyond the tight circle of associates he put together in the early 2000s.


        Third, for anyone in Putin's inner circle, the formula for professional success is simple: maintain personal loyalty to the president and forget all thought of personal ambition, much less independent action. Surkov was dismissed from his deputy prime minister post on May 8, 2013 after he took exception to Putin's remark that the government — the management of which was his responsibility — had done a poor job of carrying out presidential decrees.

        After that incident, Surkov disappeared from public view and refused to give interviews. He stoically withstood corruption charges brought against him in connection with his role in the Skolkovo project he had helped the government manage. In all things he demonstrated uncomplaining submissiveness, a refusal to blame the leadership for his troubles and acquiescence toward his fate and the will of the president. Now he is getting his reward.


        However, those who do not uphold that standard of behavior quickly find themselves on the "outside." That is what happened with former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, who openly criticized the decision of the president and government to fire him in 2004, later becoming a leader of the "non-systemic" opposition. At the same time, even people such as Alexander Voloshin, who worked for now-vilified former PresidentBoris Yeltsin, has been both quiet and loyal, thus remaining a member of Putin's inner circle.


        Fourth, the informal lobbying network in which almost all leading Russian politicians are involved plays a major role, and it is often this informal power structure that is behind many Kremlin decisions regarding personnel, politics and the economy.


        Surkov's primary resource in these secretive, Byzantine court-like games is Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. Surkov played the decisive role in raising Kadyrov to his current post. For his part, Kadyrov refers to Surkov as his "sworn brother" and even has a portrait of Surkov hanging in his office in Grozny. After Surkov was dismissed from his job, Chechnya was the first place he visited. For many years, Chechens served as bodyguards for Surkov.

        Following Surkov's dismissal, Kadyrov voiced public support for him and was the first to congratulate him upon his recent return to the Kremlin. Surkov will be responsible for Abkhazia and Ossetia, a fitting arrangement, because Kadyrov has been methodically trying to increase his political and economic influence over the whole of the Caucasus. Surkov's name is also linked to the attempt to "Kadyrovize" the Chechen authorities.


        A group of powerful people stand behind Kadyrov, individuals with major financial and military resources who also exert a major influence on Putin, effectively strengthening Surkov's position as well. Not every Russian politician can boast such allies.


        Fifth, a person's formal job title in Russia never matches the actual authority they wield. Kremlin administration head Sergei Ivanov recently stated that Surkov would only deal with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. However, those words have little meaning. It has been rumored that Surkov's appointment also came as an unpleasant surprise for the camp of presidential domestic policy chief and Deputy Prime Minister Vyacheslav Volodin, who had earlier replaced Surkov after the latter spent a full decade in that capacity. It is clear that with Surkov's vast experience, extensive political connections and ability to come up with imaginative strategies,he poses a potential threat to Volodin and his policies.


        Putin has once again created dual power centers in domestic policy, making it clear for those who currently hold responsibility that if they do not achieve the desired outcome, Surkov will be reassigned those duties.

        But most of all, Surkov's return indicates that Putin does not have any new people with new ideas. Society is rapidly evolving and political changes are picking up in speed and intensity, per force bringing the Kremlin-connected political elite into greater competition. Paradoxically, the return of old faces to the Kremlin only proves that changes are inevitable.

        Vladimir Ryzhkov, a State Duma deputy from 1993 to 2007, hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio and is a co-founder of the opposition Party of People's Freedom.



        ---In chechnya-sl@yahoogroups.com, <chechnya-sl@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

        Window on Eurasia: Could Surkov Replace Kadyrov – an Almaaty 1986 All Over Again?

        Paul Goble

        Staunton, September 24 – Ramzan’s Kadyrov’s increasingly independent approach as head of Chechnya and Vladislav Surkov’s return as an aide to President Vladimir Putin with responsibilities for the North Caucasus in the Kremlin has sparked speculation that Surkov might replace Kadyrov in order to demonstrate Moscow’s power and bring Grozny to heal.

        But such a step is highly unlikely not only because of Surkov’s style – he is more a gray cardinal than a public politician – but also because such a purge of a non-Russian leader would recall for many Mikhail Gorbachev’s clumsy replacement of Dinmukhamed Kunayev as first secretary of the Kazakhstan SSR in December 1986.

        The Soviet president took this step because he said he could not find a reliable ethnic Kazakh but that claim was immediately shown to be false when Moscow named an ethnic Kazakh to be number two after riots in the streets of the then-capital of that republic, riots that reflected both ethnic and class divides.

        The Russian Gorbachev had installed, Gennady Kolbin who had been Moscow’s watcher as number two in the Georgian SSR earlier, was soon gone and replaced by his Kazakh number two as Moscow struggled to control the situation. But this demonstration of Moscow’s inability to make unilateral decisions on ethnic issues helped accelerate the disintegration of the USSR.

        Nonetheless in the murky world of high Kremlin politics and Moscow’s troubled relations with Chechnya almost any speculation even of a kind that appears impossible is worth examining because of the light it possibly throws on developments about which little or nothing is known for sure.

        In a 1400-word essay posted on Kavkazia.net on Saturday, Maksim Malofeyev points out that Surkov has a record of talking Kadyrov out of steps that would have sparked controversy: In 2004, the Moscow official convinced Kadyrov that it would be a bad idea to rename Grozny Akhmat-kala after the latter’s father (kavkasia.net/Russia/article/1379825131.php).

        But that retreat by Kadyrov has not led him to be more cautious. In 2010, for example, he refused to mark the 140th anniversary of the founding of Grozny by Russian forces; he has staked out a position for himself as defenders of ethnic Chechens across Russia; and he has pushed for the Grozny mosque to be the symbol of Russia.

        Consequently, however slavishly loyal Kadyrov has been to Putin, the Chechen leader has managed to offend many Russians and possibly the Russian president himself by actions that Moscow would not have tolerated in the case of any other non-Russian or Russian regional leader.

        Malofeyev suggests that the Kremlin might have been willing to overlook Kadyrov’s expansive behavior had he kept it within the bounds of Chechnya and the Chechens, but the Grozny leader has not: He has attacked the head of Rosneft and the head of Ingushetia, he has demanded more money from the center, and “before the Olympiad and the 150th anniversary of the end of the Caucasus War,” he has erected a statue to Chechens who resisted Russia then.

        Many in Moscow undoubtedly feel that Kadyrov should be removed, and some, Malofeyev suggests, may see Surkov as a good candidate. “Surkov has publically declared that he is proud that he can be called Ramzan’s brother,” and Kadyrov in turn said that Surkov could “take his place” after the latter lost his earlier Kremlin post.

        But would Grozny be “too small a post for Surkov?” Perhaps not because already the status of head of Chechnya is higher than that of the presidential plenipotentiary for the North Caucasus and because Chechnya is the last fragment of [Surkov’s] political model – the classic manifestation of sovereign democracy in action.”

        The installation of Surkov in place of Kadyrov, Malofeyev, would also have the benefit of reassuring at least some of Kadyrov’s men that they would not be pushed out. In fact, at least some of them would view Surkov as a guarantor of “the status quo.” But how long that would last is anyone’s guess.

        Surkov certainly wouldn’t be satisfied with just Chechnya, however. He would likely use such a post to promote the regional amalgamation plan with which he has been associated and press for the reunification of Chechnya and Ingushetia “or more precisely the Anschluss of the latter.”

        The current Kremlin aide would likely want that to happen by 2018, a date which corresponds to the next Russian presidential election. Surkov could thus ensure that the North Caucasus would vote for Putin, and Putin in turn could then bring Surkov back in “triumph” to Moscow, Malofeyev continues.
        ck
        But the Russian analyst acknowledges there are problems: Surkov is a Chechen but a Chechen who has converted to Russian Orthodoxy. That alone would offend many Chechens just as having an ethnic Russian who has converted to Islam become “the mayor of Moscow or the governor of Ivanovo Oblast.”

        As for Kadyrov, Malofeyev says, “alas, the moor has done his work” and can go, possibly as Russian representative to the Organization for Islamic Cooperation or to some anti-terrorist position or to the post of an advisor of the Russian president on Afghanistan and Central Asia.

        Kadyrov would likely prefer the first because he could live in one of his palaces and would be beyond the reach of Russian law enforcement. But of course, in this scenario of his replacement by Surkov, he would unlikely have a choice. More important, however, is something else: does Moscow really have a choice on who will run Chechnya? Or have things gotten to the point that any change would eliminate many of its remaining levers of control?

        http://windowoneurasia2.blogspot.de/2013/09/window-on-eurasia-could-surkov-replace.html
        -------------------------------------------------------------

        Well, Kadyrov has many ugly roles, but two of them are the most prominent: 1- to "Chechenize" the Russian aggression in political coordination with the fake "emirate" (in the sense that the two groups push Chechens to attack each other instead of the Russian occupation troops); 2 - the most important - to become the scapegoat for all the crimes and failures of the fascist Russian regime in the North Caucasus. So when the Russian pundits begin to discuss his removal, the day for this manoeuvre might be approaching. On the other hand, from a long-term historical viewpoint, the name of the incumbent satrap isn't that important. N.S.
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