Translation: Vladislav Surkov – “I Was by a Great Man’s Side” (part 2)

The continuation of Surkov’s interview (2/2) with Andrei Kolesnikov, in which he expounds on the meaning of friendship, leisure, love for the fatherland, and life itself. See part 1 here.

Vladislav Surkov: “I Was by a Great Man’s Side” Part II

Russian Pioneer’s regular columnist Vladislav Surkov has, at the request of RP’s editor in chief Andrey Kolesnikov, broken his three months of silence after his retirement from the Vice Prime Minister position, and told us what constitutes life.

AK: Did you find a job?

VS: So far I’ve been freelancing.

AK: You said that you want to write a political comedy. How is it going?

VS: It was just a joke.

AK: What are your creative plans?

VS: My way of life is changing. There’s a lot of creativity in that.

AK: Has anything of other people’s creative works made any impression on you these past three months?

VS: Just recently I was greatly honored when they showed me Fedor Bondarchuk’s movie “Stalingrad”, as they say, “on the cutting desk”. It’s not completed yet. But what I saw was awesome. If the sketch looks like that, I have a foreboding of a masterpiece. For the first time, in the modern movie language, Russia will tell you the story of its pain and of its invincibility. You can make a movie like that when you have love. When you love yourself, your people, and your country. And there’s compassion, there’s rapture. Well, I can talk about it longer than the movie itself… You have to watch it.

AK: What about books? Exhibits?

VS: Dubovitskiy’s “Mashinka i velik” — I think it’s the last book that I read in my life. I won’t read anything else. I can’t. I start, then I stop. The others don’t compare. I’ve been like this for two years now. It ran me over, it turned me inside out. But really, maybe I’ve done enough reading already? Am I supposed to keep reading for the rest of my life? Maybe I should quit it? Like I quit smoking. So I can only recommend “Mashinka”. It’s about everything. That is, it’s about love. I can recommend it to anyone whose brain has cracked. As for exhibits, what about them…? I was in Hearst’s house. Hearst is still good. [tl note: No idea who he’s talking about, it’s my best guess at this point]

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Translation: Vladislav Surkov – “I Was by a Great Man’s Side” (part 1)

In which the “gray cardinal of the Kremlin” Vladislav Surkov waxes philosophical about Putin’s holiness, the nature of freedom, and why mistakes are good in his first interview (1/2), conducted with Andrei Ivanovich Kolesnikov, since leaving office. See part 2 here.

Vladislav Surkov: I was by a Great Man’s Side

Russian Pioneer’s regular columnist Vladislav Surkov has, at the request of RP’s editor in chief Andrey Kolesnikov, broken his three months of silence after his retirement from the vice prime minister position, and told us what he thinks of Vladimir Putin, the opposition, his retirement, and what constitutes life.

AK: You once said that God sent Putin to Russia. Now that he has dismissed you, do you still think that way?

VS: On the divine scale my dismissal hasn’t changed a thing. So there is no reason for me to think otherwise. Yes, God. Yes, called upon him. To save Russia from a hostile takeover. He was a white knight, and a very timely one at that. At the last hour, you might say. And he dismissed me at my own request. Just another time he treated me with respect. I’m grateful.

AK: You promised to tell of the reasons you left when it would become appropriate. Has that time arrived? What were the reasons? Do you regret leaving? Some believe that it was simply an emotional decision, connected to some momentary problems.

VS: I left at my own request. That’s what the President’s decree says. That’s how it was. Naturally, the decision was emotional, like all serious decisions made by normal people. The emotion lasted for two years. So there was nothing momentary about it.

AK: Then what was it?

VS: The reasons were of an absolutely personal nature. Based on entirely personal, extremely subjective ideas of what one can tolerate, and what one must not.

AK: And what was it?

VS: That is not interesting. Because it’s too subjective. And to complete the answer to the long question, no, I don’t regret it.

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Translation: Is Putin a KGB Agent, a Hipster, or a Mensch?

In his Odnako blog Evgeny Super asks why Putin’s image seems to be improving of late. Turned off by the propaganda against the Russian President, he argues, Westerners are beginning to give him grudging respect.

The Russian President’s Demonic Image Collapses in the Western Media

Literally from the very first day of President Vladimir Putin’s latest term, the western media started up a real witch hunt against him: not a single day passes without an influential American, British or, in a pinch, a third rate Polish tabloid accusing him of all possible sins. Nevertheless, one year later Putin’s image in the west is starting to slowly but surely turn around. So who is he in the eyes of the western populace today — a “KGB agent” or a “real hipster”? Let’s examine this.

Putin is becoming a hipster

Among the deluge of articles denouncing Putin’s tyrannical nature, something new has appeared in the foreign media the other day — the fashionable Esquire magazine released an article titled “Vladimir Putin is becoming a hipster”. In a jocular manner, the author analyzes Putin’s looks and behavior and claims that he is the most advanced hipster of our time. Here are just some of the arguments:

  • He wears fashionable sunglasses
  • He uses hipster headphones
  • He doesn’t care about the digital world and buys analog typewriters for his staff
  • He showed a thumbs up when a nude Femen activist jumped out in front of him
  • He’s fit, likes to perform in public and loves his own image

But it’s not the Esquire article itself that’s interesting, it’s the reaction to it from fellow journalists. In response, the American Flavorwire published a furious riposte, where the author, practically foaming at the mouth, argues that Putin isn’t a hipster at all. At least because he oppresses sexual minorities and allegedly kills off political dissidents outside the country.

Giggling about whether he’s a hipster only draws attention away from the true nature of the man.

In short, one cockamamie article responds to another. However, we have to note that as of late, the carefully crafted by the western media image of Putin as a “comrade of Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and Kim Chen Un” is often being rejected by Westerners themselves.

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Translation: Why Putin Closed Down Open Government

Liberals think Putin put the Open Government Initiative, advanced by the US, on hold because he is a thief. The blogger Evgeny Super, however, argues that it is a matter of protecting Russia’s sovereignty.

On the Fate of “Open Government” in Russia: Why Vladimir Putin Froze the Initiative

Vladimir Putin canceled Russia’s joining of the international “Open Government Partnership” (OGP) that had been planned for the second half of this year.  This news immediately gave rise to outraged reactions of western experts and accusations of unwillingness to integrate into the “civilized” part of the world. I will now describe what this partnership is, what the critics are unhappy about, and why we’re avoiding participating in it.

History of OGP

For the first time the idea of creating an international “Open Government” was aired by then head of the US State Dept Hillary Clinton in June 2011. Following that, it was supported by Barack Obama. If you clear its verbose declarations from traditional American pathos, the gist is as follows: OGP is a voluntary partnership whose participating states wish to reformat their government in accordance with American templates.

In the opinion of the OGP originator (the US authorities), the modern world suffers from the fact that ordinary citizens can’t influence state decisions, government are closed, which breeds corruption and suppression of various freedoms. OGP is a type of a club where countries that want to correct this unfortunate state of affairs join voluntarily. In effect, the new members publicly admit that they wish to build a western type society and it’s as if they apply to join the “civilized world”.

In order to join OGP, one must comply with number of not very onerous requirements, sign its Declaration, submit a plan of action, and allow civil activists and international experts to inspect the implementation of the said plan.

It’s expected that the main effort of OGP member countries will be directed toward improving the efficiency of government organization, strengthening of their openness, increasing efficiency of resource administration, improving corporate governance and creating a more secure society. That, and other trite mantras.

On 20 September 2011 another 7 states joined the Declaration at the instigation from the USA, and as of now, 50 more countries have supported the partnership.

I’m sure that at this point the readers will surely ask: Why would a state need this partnership and what prevents it from fighting corruption, inefficiency, and closed nature of government without it?

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