MOSCOW, July 27 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s former influential Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov, who stepped down in May, said in an interview published Saturday that it was his own “emotional decision” to leave the government, and that Vladimir Putin became Russia's president on God's will.
Surkov, who is considered to be one of the architects of the Kremlin-centric “power vertical” political system, dismissed reports that he was ousted from the government earlier this year saying in an interview with Russky Pioner (Russian Pioneer) magazine that it was his personal choice to resign, stemming from an "emotion lingering for two years ”
Back in May, Kremlin spokesman linked Surkov’s resignation to President Putin’s harsh criticism the ministers of the Cabinet’s poor performance.
In his interview, fragments of which were released online on Saturday, Surkov played down the connection saying that such reports fall in line with “the principle of corporate culture” of the Kremlin.
He declined to elaborate what exactly prompted his decision to leave vaguely indicating that there were “things [he] could not tolerate.” He added that he has not regretted his decision.
Before joining the government Surkov had served some 11 years in the presidential administration, giving rise to him becoming known as Russia's "gray cardinal."
Surkov said that he has not changed his opinion of the Russian president reiterating his earlier remarks saying that Putin has been called by God “to rescue Russia from hostile takeover.”
The former deputy prime-minister also rejected speculations that he might join the opposition forces adding that its leaders remain his “foes.”