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. Last Updated: 04/16/2014

Vladislav Surkov

Vladislav Surkov

According to his official biography, Vladislav Surkov (Владислав Юрьевич Сурков) was born on Sept. 21, 1964, in the village of Solntsevo, Lipetsk region, to a family of teachers. By other sources, he was born Aslambek Dudayev in 1962 in the village of Duba-Yurt in the Chechen-Ingush autonomous republic (source). Many details in Surkov's biography are similarly shady.

Education: M.A. economics, International University (official biography). According to unofficial sources, Surkov was at different points enrolled in the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys — where he met future Alfa Bank head Mikhail Fridman — and the Moscow Institute of Culture, where he studied theater directing (source). He did not graduate from either institute.

1983–1985: Served in a Soviet artillery unit in Hungary

1991–1996: Held senior positions in advertising and public relations at the Menatep Credit and Financial Enterprises Association, later called Menatep Bank. Menatep was established by now-jailed Yukos shareholders Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. Surkov's professional links to Khodorkovsky go back to at least 1987 (source).

1996–1997: Deputy head, then head of public relations at Rosprom

1997: Became first deputy director of Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Bank

1998–1999: First deputy general director, director for public relations at ORT, which was then controlled by oligarch Boris Berezovsky

1999: Aide to Kremlin chief of staff Alexander Voloshin

August 1999-present: Deputy chief of staff of the Presidential Executive Office

2004-2008: Deputy chief of staff of the Presidential Executive Office and aide to the president

May 12, 2008-December 27, 2011: First deputy chief of staff of the Presidential Executive Office

December 27, 2011-present: Deputy prime minister; reappointed to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's Cabinet in May 2012. Areas of responsibility include the mass media, statistics, and interaction with the court system and prosecution agencies. Also serves as the White House administration's chief of staff.

Surkov is widely seen as the Kremlin's main propagandist and ideologist as well as the mastermind behind the concept of "sovereign democracy" and pro-Kremlin youth groups such as Nashi.

Surkov is married and has three children.

What the Papers Say, April 3, 2014

The only English roundup of today's Russian-language newspapers.

Observers Say Russia Had Crimea Plan for Years

As fallout from Russia's annexation of Crimea continues to build with economic sanctions and diplomatic spats, speculation has grown over whether the Kremlin's decision to take the Ukrainian territory was really as spontaneous as it seemed. Observers say plans to return lost Russian territories, including Crimea, have been sitting on the shelf for years.

What the Papers Say, March 26, 2014

The only English roundup of today's Russian-language newspapers.

NATO Alarmed by Russian Troops After Crimea Annexation

As President Vladimir Putin finalized the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and Sevastopol to Russia on Friday, European officials voiced concerns that Russia may have plans to expand into Moldova’s separatist self-proclaimed Transdnestr republic and the Baltics.

Deputy Prime Minister and 2 Putin Aides on EU Sanctions List

Two of President Vladimir Putin's aides and a Russian deputy prime minister are among the 12 Russians and Crimeans to have been added to the European Union's sanctions list.

Russia Not Planning Sanctions Against Western Officials, Rogozin Says

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin denied Tuesday that Russia was contemplating sanctions against U.S. and European officials to retaliate for banking and travel restrictions imposed on officials involved in staging Sunday's referendum in Crimea, in which voters overwhelmingly voted for joining Russia.

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