Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe (Russian Service) has published a transcript of a "secret" address by Vladislav Surkov, deputy head of Putin's administration. He spoke at a closed meeting of the general council of Delovaya Rossiya, a public organization representing members of the Russian business community, two months ago, on May 17.

I would've translated more from the address if I hadn't been too lazy, but here's a little something that I just couldn't resist: Surkov is being so pathetically honest here, it hurts...

[...] I often hear that democracy is more important than sovereignty. We don't agree with that. We think that both are needed. An independent state is worth fighting for. It'd be nice to escape to Europe, but they won't accept us there. Russia is a European civilization, it's a poorly lit edge of Europe, but not Europe proper. In this sense, we are completely tied to Europe and have to be friends with it. We are not enemies. We are just competitors. And it hurts not to be enemies. To be enemies is when you can die as a hero at war, having had a head-on collision with your enemy. There's something heroic and beautiful about it. And to lose to your competitor means to be a pathetic loser. And this hurts even more.

It's better to be enemies, and not like what we are now - the ambiguous friends! This is, sort of, what we want.

There are psychological reasons for this. For 500 years the country was a modern state, it was making history and not vice versa. With all respect to these peoples, we are, after all, different from Slovaks, the Baltic peoples and even Ukrainians - they didn't have states of their own. They were being drawn on the maps - by the past Russian politicians, too. We participated in the common creative process, together with the leading countries of the world, in changing the map of the world. [...]


  1. I haven't read it yet - maybe tonight when I have a little more time. Anyway, I've just noticed that Mosnews has a complete translation: surkov.shtml

    07.13.05 - 7:20 pm

  2. The complete text of the Surkov speech is available in English translation here: surkov.shtml

    07.13.05 - 9:09 pm

  3. Andy beat me to it.

    07.13.05 - 9:10 pm

  4. The chairman of Business Russia, Boris Titov, quoted by Interfax, called the published text a "forgery." "This is not an authentic text allegedly of a shorthand report of Surkov's speech," he said. "This is a forgery because it represents a free interpretation of the speech, with changes and misrepresentations that fully distort the whole sense."

    I guess one has to make of that what one will.

    07.13.05 - 9:33 pm