On February 11, Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov published an article in Nezavisimaya Gazeta, titled "Putin’s Long State", in which he praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and the ideology that the Kremlin is shaping.
In his article, Surkov underlined that Western democracy is based on the illusion of choice, whereas Russia's political system rejects this illusion in favor of the more realistic predestination.
According to Surkov, Russian history has witnessed four state models:
- The state of Ivan III, also known as Ivan the Great, he was Grand Prince of Moscow and "Grand Prince of all Rus'", XV–XVII century.
- The rule of Peter the Great (Russian Empire, XVIII–XIX century)
- The rule of Vladimir Lenin (Soviet Union, XX century)
- "The state of Putin" that has just began.
Surkov predicted that Putin's state will outlive him and last for the next century.
Surkov's article has been widely criticized by liberal Russian commentators, who stated that the Kremlin aide's theoretical assumptions were reminiscent of the ideas spouted in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and rehashed Soviet propagandists.
Below is a selection of reactions to Surkov's article:
Surkov (right), in the company of Union of Donbass Volunteers (Source: YouTube.com)
Russian Journalist Venediktov: In The 21st Century This Is Not Fashionable
Echo of Moscow Editor-in-Chief, Alexey Venediktov wrote in his Telegram channel:
"Reading our Vladislav Yuryevich Surkov
"I could not understand what Surkov’s article reminded me of, where I already had read all this...
"Well, of course, this is the reasoning of the German leaders of the 30s of the last century, explanations of why the Third Reich will necessarily last a thousand years.
"Only instead of Charlemagne - Ivan the Third, instead of Frederick Barbarossa - Peter the Great, and instead of Bismarck - Lenin.
"Well, instead of Western plutocracy - Western democracy.
"Of course, there is no pursuit of any particular nation — in the 21st century this is not fashionable.
Except that everything fits to a T.
"Except that the Third Reich "that was to last a thousand years" with such a philosophy did not last long.
"What are you hinting at, Vladislav Yuryevich? Or rather, to whom?"
Political Commentator Rostovsky: We Read This Before On The Pages Of Soviet Mass Media
Russian political commentator at the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, Mikhail Rostovsky, said:
"'The illusion of choice is one the most important illusions, the best trick of the Western way of life in general and Western democracy in particular' Where have we have read this before and even frequently. And I will tell you where: daily on the pages of Soviet mass media starting with Stalin's time and ending in the early or middle Gorbachev period."
Commenting on Surkov's praise of great power expansionism, Rostovsky wrote: "At the expense of what countries does Russia intend to expand, esteemed Vladislav Yurevich. What ownerless lands to we intend to pick up? In the West they constantly accuse our country of aggression and striving to swallow its neighbors. Can one understand from the afore cited declaration by the president's assistant an official confirmation that our 'Western friends' are not that wrong."
(Mk.ru, February 11, 2019)
Russian Journalist Vinokurova: This Is The World Outlook Of Those Who Do Not Come Into Contact With Reality
Russian Journalist Yekaterina Vinokurova commented:
"In principle Surkov quite accurately describes the world outlook that exists in a significant part of the ruling class – I heard similar opinions from deputies and many bureaucrats. The problem with this outlook is in general one. This is the world outlook of those who have not travelled on the metro or gone to an ordinary store i.e. people who practically do not come into contact with reality"
(Znak.com, February 11, 2019)
Russian Commentator Driz: The Current Authority Needs Ideological Justification That There Is No Alternative To It
Russian commentator Dmitry Driz stated:
"Let's get back again to Surkov. He sort of lets us understand: the most rewarding time of time will be in the future. In other words, now they are laying the foundation. And here is Dmitry Medvedev with his programmatic article. What is the main thing that the premier is committing to. That it is necessary to live longer and get enjoyment from life. Live calmly comrades, receive enjoyment – we will do everything for you. The only thing is to that time, when everything will be great it is necessary to wait a bit. This is the main message of all the presidential communications. The breakthrough to the bright tomorrow must occur but not now. And to set an example in order to cheerfully await the bright future, it is necessary to kick out someone or arrest some bigwig. Give more rights to the regions, promise help to the poor and threaten the rich. Likewise demonstrate the next batch of new missiles and rockets."
(Kommersant.ru, February 14, 2019)
In an earlier article, Driz tied Surkov's letter to 2024 when Putin's second term expires:
"The closer we get to 2024 the more such articles will increase. The current authority needs ideological justification that there is no alternative to it. And that it here for a long time, maybe a century. Surkov understands this as he is an experienced apparatchik."
(Kommersant.ru, February 11, 2019)
Russian Analyst Mironov: The Authority Fears To Destroy The Balance Of Power Within The Elites
Russian analyst Nikolai Mironov commented:
"Last year demonstrated that society is angry due to poverty, inequality, anti-social reforms. As proof, the ratings of the authorities took a steep dive (and this trend continues). Amidst the accumulated negativity leftist forces raised their heads and they began winning in regional elections.
"Aware that the situation was critical, the Kremlin however was not prepared to embark on reforms for to really eradicate poverty, it is necessary to change the entire economic model and hurt the interests of the commodity owners and the other ruling oligarchy. The authority fears to destroy the balance of power within the elites and therefore has gotten stalemated: it is necessary somehow to boost the ratings but simultaneously avoid shaking the pillars.
"The article ostensibly hints at a way out: instead of implementing reforms it announces that poverty is not really poverty, but a spiritual achievement of the Russian people 'voluntarily' rejecting Western 'consumer society' for the 'spiritual morsels' and 'the country's greatness'.
"There they prioritize resting under palm trees, buying brandies and abandoning themselves to all sorts of debauchery. By us there is spirituality, austerity, asceticism, fasting and other good things. To work to old age for a pittance, to deny oneself everything so we can be a great power 'an emerging organic model' of nationhood, which 'is different from what is in the West'."
(Mk.ru, February 12, 2019)
Russian Expert Goltz: Surkov Promotes Militaristic And Fascist Views
Aleksandr Goltz in the Ukrainian magazine Novoye Vremya dismissed Surkov as a disgraced dignity who is trying to call attention to himself. Goltz stated: "It is noteworthy what he recommends: exclusively militaristic and Fascist views that are pleasing to the leader."
(Nv.ua, February 12, 2019)
Ukrainian Diplomat Kuleba Compares Surkov To The Soviet Functionaries Who Denying Reality Continued To Praise The Ruling Regime
The Ukrainian diplomat Dmytro Kuleba compared Surkov to the Soviet functionaries who denying reality continued to praise the ruling regime. Surkov particularly reminded him of the deputy head of the CPSU international department in the seventies and eighties who publicly proclaimed the superiority of the Communist regime although after a visit to West Germany in 1979 he wrote in his diary the total opposite. He wrote in his diary that Communism had exhausted itself by the end of the 1940s.
(Uaportal.com, February 12, 2019)
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 7894, Putinism 001: 'Kremlin Ideologist' Surkov Explains How Russia Plays With The Westerners' Brains, And Offers An Alternative And More Honest Model, February 17, 2019.