Surkov as a prophet
Every time the former long-term first deputy head of the Kremlin administration, Vladislav Surkov, writes something succinct but fundamental, I am invariably overwhelmed with mixed feelings. If our country now has a political prophet, then Vladislav Yuryevich is definitely the main contender for this role. Beginning of 2020. Surkov is very assertive in saying that part of the coming constitutional changes should be to give Vladimir Putin the opportunity to run for a new presidential term. I doubt that this will happen. Surkov turns out to be right. The eve of the start of the SVO. Surkov substantiates the inevitability of the rapid expansion of Russia's state borders. I'm back to being a skeptic. And Surkov turns out to be right again. And here is a new “topical commentary” from Vladislav Yuryevich – about what the finale of the current stage of the Ukrainian crisis will look like.
Important note: sometimes Surkov also has “blank shots”. For example, Vladislav Yuryevich’s thoughts about the Portuguese King Manuel and that Russia would soon become part of a certain “Great North”, which in addition to it would also include Europe and the United States, were not understood by the public (at least by the public in my face). But even a great master sometimes has misfires. I remember, for example, reading some of John Galsworthy’s novels (mostly early ones, though) and wondering: how could such a clumsy author write “The Forsyte Saga”? But now we are not talking about Galsworthy, but about the fact that Surkov’s new text (aka forecast) on Ukraine clearly belongs to the category of the author’s creative successes.
Everything here is clear, everything is logical, everything is to the point – both what is written in this prediction and what is only hinted at in it. In its external form, the new opus of the former curator of the Ukrainian direction in the Kremlin administration is not so much an analytical political text as a philosophical treatise: “Fairy-tale worldview, magical thinking, impressionability and excessive poetry are the main features of the Ukrainian soul. And indeed, Dikanka and its surroundings are literally teeming with sorcerers, witches, and revived drowned women.” But external form can be deceiving (especially Surkov). This is not literary criticism or vulgar regional studies. This is a disguised political analysis – those who are in the know will understand.
And this is how I understand Vladislav Yuryevich’s train of thought. “Magic formulas, spells… through which all problems should be solved overnight. They should, but they don’t dare. Then sobering up and resentment at the failed miracle sets in.” We see this resentment, and Surkov is not needed for this at all. Only the lazy did not write or declare that the processes of fermentation and the erosion of Zelensky’s political base are gaining strength in the Ukrainian political space, and that there is a noticeable whiff of new unrest in the air (even the current President of Ukraine himself warned about the possibility of a new Maidan).
But Surkov takes a step forward in his analytics. And it doesn’t matter that this step consists not so much in what is said, but in what is left unsaid. From this unsaid, the contours of a potential Kremlin political strategy for 2024 emerge: “Many on Bankova (read – in Zelensky’s apparatus – “MK”) secretly dream of Minsk-3. In vain. Russia is now an impatient participant in the big game, which will take its toll.” Oh, how it hurts my ears – that word “impatient.” And it cuts it for me because it contradicts the general logic of Surkov’s political reasoning. And this logic consists in the fact that in order to fully “get what is due”, the Kremlin is now ready to wait and show “strategic patience” (a term quite popular now in the corridors of Russian power).
Imagine sausages being cooked over very, very low heat. You can become “strategically impatient” and try to eat those undercooked sausages and end up with indigestion (or worse). Or you can just wait, not forgetting to add some firewood. The Kremlin seems to have chosen this second strategy. The ferment in Ukrainian politics is now perceived in Moscow as a process from which one should not expect an immediate positive result, as a process that must go through all its stages. The Russian top brass are convinced that time is now on the Kremlin’s side and that it should not be stopped from doing its job. Another striking quote from Surkov: “Next year will be the year of degradation and disorganization of the Ukrainian dummy state.” Please note: the terms “collapse” and “liquidation” do not appear in this list.
If we reason according to Surkov’s logic, then Zelensky’s “dummy state” may well migrate to 2025, and this year, from the point of view From Vladislav Yuryevich’s point of view, there is absolutely nothing wrong. After all, the “impatient player” Russia will still “take its toll.”