26 Feb 2020 11:21

Surkov not to return to civil service

MOSCOW. Feb 26 (Interfax) - Former Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov does not plan to return to civil service.

Surkov told Center for Current Policy Director Alexei Chesnakov in an interview published on the Internet portal Aktualnye Kommentarii that his decision to leave civil service was final.

"No such plans. It's impossible," the former official said in response to a question as to whether his return to civil service was pending.

Surkov said, however, that he will continue his political activity. "Of course, I will. I've always been interested in politics. That was the case before my civil service, and that will be the case after," Surkov said in response to the relevant question.

According to Surkov, the decision to resign was his initiative. "I did it. It was completely my decision," he said.

Surkov explained his resignation with the change in the situation surrounding Ukraine.

"See, I was mostly addressing Donbas and Ukraine. The context has changed, so to speak. I mean, I was supposed to continue addressing them, but the context changed," he said.

Surkov presumed that the delay between the submission of his letter of resignation and the relevant executive order must have been caused by bureaucracy.

"A smart woman told me after my case started dragging on: 'you fool, they're giving you time to change your mind.' But things are much simpler, to my mind. Clearly, my letter was not a priority document. It was passed from one office to another and was kept for a while here and there," he said.

Surkov said he planned to resign back in 2013. "I was already aware that there was no place for me in the system. Clearly, I built the system, but I was never a part of it. This isn't the system's problem; this is my problem. I can feel alienation. Not because there's something I don't like. I actually like it. But I've never done anything for more than five years in a row. I was dealing with domestic policy for a long time. The political system and the fundamentals of the new statehood were created. It was time for me to leave in 2013," he said.

Surkov explained his return to civil service in 2013 with his interest in Ukrainian affairs.

"I practically left, but then I returned to civil service. I had my reasons. Another reason was the unique opportunity to choose a project. So I chose Ukraine. I was acting strictly on instinct. [...] I just felt or, to be more exact, sensed that something big was coming. I guessed before everything began happening that we were looking at a real struggle with the West. A serious one. With casualties and sanctions. That's true, I foresaw it. But another five years passed [...] and this project also began to falter," Surkov said

According to Surkov, under regular circumstances he "would not have asked to leave a hot spot because that would have been irresponsible."

"But the hot spot has more or less cooled off, and most importantly, the context has changed. I couldn't have taken a sharp turn and headed in the opposite direction after pursuing the same course for five years. I wouldn't have made peace with myself in that case. So, I had a reason and an occasion to leave for good," Surkov said.