Thursday, July 14, 2005

I'm having a Surkov overdose by now, but here's the link to his Spiegel interview, which was mentioned by Gevorkyan (see my previous entry).

Here's a more presentable version of Surkov's view of the West, with enough common sense in it to make me doubt the authenticity of his quote from the transcript...

SPIEGEL: What happened differently than expected?

Surkov: When the Soviet Union was dissolved, most of us didn't even have the feeling that the country was falling apart. We thought we would continue with our lives as in the past, but as good neighbors. Of course, we also believed that the West loved us and would help us, and that we'd be living like the Europeans in ten years. But everything turned out to be more complicated.

SPIEGEL: Because the West didn't love you after all?

Surkov: No. The West doesn't have to love us. In fact, we should ask ourselves more often why people are so suspicious of us. After all, the West isn't a charity organization. How have we been perceived for centuries? As a huge, warlike realm ruled by despots -- first by the czars and then Bolsheviks. Why should anyone have loved us? If we want to be accepted, we have to do something in return. And it's an art that we have yet to master.

SPIEGEL: How far has Putin's Russia come on this path?

Surkov: The people have attained a new sense of soberness. The romantic days are gone. We no longer have the feeling of being surrounded by enemies, but rather by competitors. We have achieved too little when it comes to modernizing our society, and we must look to the West for the technological and intellectual solutions necessary to do so. The idea that we should suddenly be able to produce something, now that we're on our own, is erroneous. We must learn from others.

And here's something that Surkov sort of has in common with Khodorkovsky, something capable of making his Successor's Chair ambitions less realistic - sadly, the way thing are, the masses in this country are unlikely to perceive him as their ideal candidate...

SPIEGEL: You yourself have your roots in the northern Caucasus.

Surkov: Yes, my father is Chechen, and I spent the first five years of my live in Chechnya. As someone who grew up there, I say: The Chechen Republic must remain part of Russia. Everything else is negotiable.


  1. West, Russia, Love?
    In Germany there is rather a "Russia first" attitude than the care for Ukraine, the Baltics or Georgia. How much love does he need? Must be a very sensitive person.

    07.14.05 - 2:22 pm

  2. He doesn't sound like he could be trusted much, anyway:

    "Who of the current Kremlin residents is craftier and smarter than he is? Who knows everyone and everything longer and better than he does? Who is as flexible and diverse? Who is as familiar, almost like family, I'd say? And he's a bridge, in a way, between Yeltsin's past, Putin's present and the future... All in all, he's a 100-percent successor and the keeper of all traditions at once." (N. Gevorkyan)

    07.14.05 - 3:04 pm