He is stepping out of the shadows from chief strategist at the Kremlin to Russia’s new deputy prime minister. But it is unlikely that Vladislav Surkov’s job swap, approved by President Dmitry Medvedev, will do anything to appease the opposition.
He is a contentious figure for anti-government protesters, some of whom he has accused of seeking a full-blown revolution.
Surkov is set to be reunited with Medvedev if, as expected, he replaces Vladimir Putin as prime minister.
Front-runner to return to the presidency in March, Putin has rejected opposition calls for a review of this month’s disputed parliamentary elections. In the upcoming presidential vote, Putin said he did not need any vote-rigging and called for maximum transparency.
Putin’s opponents will take some convincing about his sincerity. He is facing the biggest protests since he first rose to power in 1999.