Permutations in the Kremlin: How Kozak can take place of Surkov

Author : News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

While Moscow does not confirm or deny the resignation of the curator of Ukrainian direction Vladislav Surkov, the media are actively discussing his possible successor
21:37, 30 January 2020

Assistant to the President of Russia, curator of the Ukrainian direction Vladislav Surkov left the civil service. Such a message was published on January 25 by the director of the Center for Political Conjuncture Alexei Chesnakov. Soon, the speaker of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov assured that there are no decrees on Surkov’s resignation. Three days after his “dismissal," nothing was heard of these decrees.

Meanwhile, the media has already named the person who will replace Surkov and, possibly, will become the new curator of the militants in Donbas. We are talking about the former deputy prime minister in the Medvedev's government, and now - the deputy head of the Putin’s administration, Dmitry Kozak.

Native of Ukraine

Dmitry Kozak was born in the small village of Bandurovo, Kirovograd Region (then the Ukrainian SSR).

After school, he tried to enter the Vinnytsia Polytechnic Institute, but failed to become a student on the first attempt, and the future politician went to the army, where from 1976 to 1978 he served in the special landing forces of the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).

In 1985, Kozak received a diploma in law at Leningrad State University. Putin and Dmitry Medvedev graduated from the same educational institution.

In 1985-1989 - prosecutor, senior prosecutor of the Leningrad prosecutor's office. After he worked as a legal adviser, he created a number of private law firms, including Neva Yust.

Since 1994, he headed the legal committee of the St. Petersburg City Hall, where at the same time Putin headed the committee on foreign relations and was the first deputy head of the city hall.

Since 1999, he moved to work in the Kremlin, where to date he has replaced a number of posts. In the past government of Dmitry Medvedev, Kozak oversaw the fuel and energy complex and industry, as well as issues of resolving the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

"Kozak, in particular, was a member of the working group on the implementation of the agreements between Presidents Vladimir Putin and Vladimir Zelensky, which dealt with the issue of exchanging forcibly held persons," RBC writes.

The day before the Surkov’s departure, on January 24, Putin signed a decree appointing Kozak as deputy head of the presidential administration.

A competition?

On the possible appointment of Kozak to the place of Surkov reported the chief editor of Echo of Moscow Alexei Venediktov, as well as a number of leading Russian media.

According to Kommersant, since the summer of last year, there has been discussion within the Russian government that one key curator should be left in the Ukrainian direction. It was about choosing between Surkov and Kozak.

"Two Kommersant interlocutors close to the Kremlin admit that Kozak may also receive some of the duties of Presidential Aide Vladislav Surkov, who oversees Ukraine, the unrecognized republics of Donbas and negotiations between them, as well as Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Moreover, they mentioned the Ukrainian direction, which Dmitry Kozak has already dealt with in the government, "the newspaper writes.

So, last year there were situations when Kozak and Surkov simultaneously dealt with issues related to Ukraine.

Related: Taras Kozak questioned by Security Service, no suspicions were raised

"Kozak in the Russian government had to solve economic issues related to the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (this has never been officially confirmed), and Surkov was more involved in political issues," the report said.

Kommersant sources say that there have been repeated discussions between them over the settlement of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Surkov leaves to meditate

The politician served as Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation from September 20, 2013 to the present, and also from March 26, 2004 to May 7, 2008. In total, Surkov worked in the presidential administration for about 17 years.

He was responsible for developing policies regarding Ukraine and cooperation with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Surkov was called the "architect" of the war in Donbas and the main ideologist of creating terrorist groups in eastern Ukraine.

With his mediation, the Minsk agreements were concluded, he also participated in the negotiations of the Normandy Four (at the end of last year as part of the Russian delegation flew to Paris).

As the Ministry of Interior head Arsen Avakov said, at the Normandy Summit, during the discussion of the control over the border of Ukraine with the Russian Federation, Surkov lost his nerve.

“Surkov was furious, he threw papers on the table there and shouted:“ We didn’t agree on it,” Avakov said.

The possible resignation of the assistant to the president of the Russian Federation was announced by RBC sources in mid-2018, but he remained at his post.

"Then, among the reasons why Surkov wanted to leave, they called a dead end, which included a strategy in the Ukrainian direction, the failure to fulfill the Minsk agreements and the lack of prospects," the message said.

Sources also noted that Surkov had conflicts with other departments, including security forces, which “believed that he was interfering in not his business."

“Since then, nothing has changed - the reasons for its decision are the same,” said an RBC interlocutor close to the Kremlin.

As mentioned above, the resign of the curator of the Ukrainian direction was reported by a political analyst close to him, Alexei Chesnakov.

He explained that the reason for such a decision on the part of the politician was "a change of course in the Ukrainian direction."

"Over the next month, he will be engaged in meditation. After that, he promised to report on the reasons for his decision and future plans," he wrote. The political scientist did not specify what kind of “change of course” happened.

Soon, the speaker of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov said that there were no decrees on Surkov’s resignation and that Russia's policy on the Ukrainian direction had not changed, so "any discussion on this subject is a personal point of view."

After Peskov’s statement, Chesnakov published another message in which he emphasized that Surkov would not reconsider his decision, despite the absence of Putin’s decree.

A source close to the Kremlin, reported that Surkov wrote a letter of resignation on Friday, January 24, and the Russian president was informed about this. The source does not know whether the curator of the Ukrainian direction discussed his resignation personally with Putin.

On Monday, January 28, Peskov noted that there is still no decree on the dismissal of Surkov from the post of Assistant to the President of the Russian Federation, Interfax writes.

"I can only say so far that there is still no decree on the release of Surkov from his duties, so de facto he continues to be an assistant to the president of the Russian Federation," said the speaker of the Russian head of state.

At the same time, Peskov did not answer the question of whether Surkov continues to go to work: "I do not carry out the function of monitoring the attendance of the workplace."

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