The man who ‘invented putinism’ is in prison in Russia and under house arrest, reports in Moscow say.
If confirmed, the move against Vladislav Surkov seems to show Vladimir Putin turning against his inner circle, as well as deep splits between his closest accomplices.
Unconfirmed reports say Putin’s “ideologue” is being held in a wide-ranging criminal investigation that also saw 150 FSB agents arrested.
Vladislav Surkov (right), the man who ‘invented Putinism’, has been arrested in Russia and is under house arrest
If confirmed, the move against Surkov appears to show Vladimir Putin turning against his inner circle, as well as deep splits between his closest accomplices
The case is clearly about the alleged embezzlement of $5 billion (£3.85 billion) by the secret services to create an undercover and intelligence network in Ukraine.
The shadowy Surkov, considered crucial to Putin’s long-standing electoral success, was the man who encouraged him to believe that Ukraine is not a real country.
The 57-year-old is a former Kremlin insider, more recently a Putin man in Ukraine.
Before Putin sent troops to Ukraine, Surkov called for the annexation of Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltic states.
The detention of Colonel General Sergei Beseda, 68, of the FSB, now held in the grim prison of Lefortovo, is seen as a linked case.
Kurkov is also close to Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov (pictured together), who is fighting for the war
Putin is said to be furious at the failure of intelligence services in Ukraine after massive investments over many years to ensure Russian support in key places.
Russian outlet Buninskaya Alleya reported: “More and more sources are reporting that Vladislav Surkov is under house arrest.
“Since 2014, investigative measures have been taken in the case of embezzlement in the Donbas….
“It was Surkov who was the representative of the Russian president in Ukraine.”
Telegram transmitter Druid reported: “According to our sources, Vladislav Surkov is under house arrest.”
Russian opposition politician Ilya Ponomarev also highlighted the arrest claims and pointed to Kurkov’s close relationship with Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
Kadyrov is seen as involved in the war and in his role as a lieutenant general in the National Guard demanding that Putin invade all of Ukraine.
This has led to a split in Putin’s inner circle.
The detention of Colonel General Sergei Beseda, 68, is now held in the grim prison of Lefortovo and is seen as a related case.
Surkov was deputy head of the Russian presidential government from 1999 to 2011.
He has been called Putin’s “main ideologue” who coined the concept of “sovereign democracy” as a mask for authoritarianism.
He argued for the need to defend the Russians beyond the borders of the motherland – an important element in Putin’s annexation of Crimea and the raising of the Donbas.
“The Russian world is something bigger than Russia itself,” Surkov said.
“Because we are, in effect, a scattered people, our population extends far beyond our own borders.
‘What is the Russian world for me? It’s everywhere, where people speak Russian and think like Russians, or where they respect Russian culture.’
Once described as “the hidden author of Putinism,” he advocated an outward gaze of democratic norms with timely elections whose results are predetermined.
He also convinced Putin, as Surkov said, “There is no Ukraine. There is Ukrainianness.
That is, a specific mental disorder. An astonishing enthusiasm for ethnography, taken to the extreme…
“There is no nation.”