A partial interview with former Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov was released today on Russki Pioneer’s (Russian Pioneer) website [http://www.ruspioner.ru/honest/m/single/3718]. This is the first interview Surkov has given since he left the Government in early May of this year. In the published excerpts Surkov reiterates his previous assertion that Putin was sent by God to save Russia, and calls Putin a “white knight”.
Interestingly, in an interview [http://izvestia.ru/news/552844] given just a few weeks ago, Surkov’s father said something similar: “Russia was given Putin by God and that there are no alternatives now.”
While the timing and placement of both interviews is odd, the reasons for them are not. A criminal case [http://www.interpretermag.com/investigative-committee-ready-to-open-criminal-case-against-ponomarev/] has been started against Just Russia MP Ilya Ponomarev over allegations that he was given money from Skolkovo for work he never did. Ponomarev denies the charge, but Bastrykin’s Investigative Committee is pushing for Ponomarev’s parliamentary immunity to be stripped, something that is not unprecedented in Russian politics today (3 other MPs have been stripped of immunity in the last year).
Given Surkov’s involvement with the Skolkovo project (it was part of his portfolio while he was Deputy PM), it is likely that a criminal case is being prepared. However, Surkov does not have parliamentary immunity to prevent a criminal case from starting right away. So Surkov is obviously worried, and for good reason. Today’s interview and the interview given by Surkov’s father a few weeks ago indicate that he is getting out in front of it, and attempting to write his own narrative about his resignation from the Government and his loyalty to Putin. But will his efforts be successful?
P.S. We should get more of the Kolesnikov-Surkov interview on Monday.