MOSCOW, August 20 (RIA Novosti) – Former Kremlin ideologue Vladislav Surkov, who resigned from the Russian government in May, has denied a report that he will soon take up a position in the presidential administration, a political analyst said Tuesday citing a message from Surkov.
Rumors of Surkov’s imminent return to frontline politics were sparked by an article in Russia’s Izvestia newspaper, based on unnamed sources within the Russian government, that alleged Surkov was about to be appointed as a presidential aide responsible for innovation development.
Izvestia added that Surkov had been considered for a number of official positions, including as a replacement for Alexander Khloponin, the presidential envoy to the North Caucasus; as a new Far East Development Minister to replace Viktor Ishayev; and to head up a new state agency to be formed from the merger of state-backed technology fund Rusnano and innovation hub Skolkovo.
Surkov flatly denied the Izvestia report. “I have never discussed with anyone the position of innovation aide, presidential envoy to the North Caucasus, minister of the Far East, or head of ‘Rusnano-Skolkovo’ (and can’t even imagine how the last of those could be created),” Surkov said in a text message subsequently posted by political analyst Alexei Chesnakov on social networking site Twitter.
Considered one of the architects of the “power vertical” political system ushered in under President Vladimir Putin, Surkov resigned as deputy prime minister in May shortly after sharply criticizing Russia’s powerful Investigative Committee over probes into alleged corruption at Skolkovo. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at the time that Surkov’s departure was linked to his failure to carry out some of Putin’s decrees.
In an interview with Russky Pioner (Russian Pioneer) magazine earlier this month Surkov said that he had not found any work and was “scraping by with odd jobs.”