Three roles of the Kremlin's power broker
Vedomosti daily retold the speech of Vladislav Yu. Surkov, the deputy chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office, aide to the President. The official addressed the assembly of the Stolypin’s Club “Right Idea and Business”. He noticed that terms ‘right’ and ‘left’ concern the industrial society of the XIX century and that they can’t be applied to own times.
According to Surkov the business should nit have its own party or structure which will influence on the government. It is not expedient to create the party of the business; the electorate is mixed; there is no analogous party in any democratic country and, on the whole, a party, which synthesizes interests of the society and that of the business already exists. Most likely he meant the United Russia.
“I told that the state acted as a business entity in many areas; two thirds of the GDP are controlled by state-run companies”, argued the chairman of the Committee on Support of Small and Medium Business of the Union of Right Forces Andrei Nechaev. “The opponents, including Surkov, noted that the state should play a significant role because of the imperfection of the market. But insufficient development of the market supposes an active participation of the state as a regulating authority but not as an entity. My opponents don’t understand (or pretend that they don’t understand) just this difference. Surkov remembered the USA president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but he reinforced functions of the government, extended government orders but didn’t form state-run corporations.
From what Surkov has said it becomes clear that not only electorate is mixed. The consciousness of officials of high rank is also very eclectic, on the level tactics, strategy and ideology. It seems that Surkov has mixed too much with different smart people. The program text “sovereign democracy” signed by Surkov is equally eclectic. If in the first case the matter concerned mixing of different ideologies now one can speak about mixing of different roles of Vladislav Surkov.
The first one is “Surkov is the main political strategist of the country”. The thesis on the mixed electorate and some enigmatic party, which consolidates interests of the society and business, should be taken just in this context. The political strategist in Russia must create, underline and promote newsbreaks profitable for his client. Theoretically these newsbreaks change the agenda just before the elections of during some other political confrontation. For example, the business of the day changes when Putin heads the thicket of the United Russia and the PR-technologies invent the “referendum on the confidence in Putin”. In this sense the statement of Surkov is both creation and promotion of a newsbreak and change of the agenda. He argued: “the United Russia is the only existing right party” and thereby abolished a protйgй of his own agency, the leader of the Civil Force party Michael Barschevsky. Well, Vladislav Surkov is the main PR-technologist; the main figure in the list is Putin. The main political strategist is Putin’s main political strategist; that all is quite logical!
The second role is “Surkov as a high-rank specialist on fundraising”. Well, the argument that there is already a party “for business” can be taken only as an appeal to bring money exclusively to this party. One may assume that the big business knows very well in what fund it should chip in for the elections. Certainly, sometimes the business expresses discontent, for example, structures of a tycoon Oleg Deripasks support alternative left projects of Gennady Semigin; some structures beginning with Alfa-group and Yukos and finishing with ‘red directors’ of defense enterprises. But this is another story altogether. The remarkable point is the very fixation that this time the business should keep all eggs in one basket, since traditionally the business puts up in all parties.
And at last the third role is the demiurge of the political system and the main idea-monger of the country. Hence all these historical intimations about Franklin Roosevelt who occupied the presidential chair four terms running, extricated, as many believe, the country from the Great Depression, created the social system of the USA and changed the relationship between the business and the government. Yet his administration has involved the USA in the Second World War and has been selling arms all over the world for half a century.
Well, the right idea (or liberal idea) in its pure form doesn’t exist now. But then all statements of Surkov that the SPS (Union of Right Forces Party) wrong promises pensioners the advance of pensions up to the European level are senseless. Say, in the USA both republicans and democrats raise the minimum monthly wage. Liberalism is one of three great ideologies (as well as socialism and conservatism); and it is in any democratic political system. Our demiurge find a place for it but only under his own close control. That means, that Surkov personally, according to his sovereign democratic idea, acknowledges only ‘proper liberalism’.
At the intersection of this tree Surkov’s roles an average Russian official of high rank is situated. He is a statist, but an advocate of a market; he cons out a little his clients for rendering them ‘special services’; he also clearly understands why his mission is impossible within his own resources and why this mission is inconsistent with his world outlook. He doesn’t consider himself to be an org-man or a cog in a machine, he has no fear of the state or law.
Well, each one can get acquainted with this discourse: suffice it to enter any housing office or town council and communicate a little with some official. But when the main puppeteer of the country says it - certainly it sounds more impressive. It seems that upper strata want and can to do a lot of things. We all become feeling reassured.