Vladislav Surkov is one of the most creative minds inside the Kremlin, and I write with total honesty. No one else seems capable of weaving such elaborate fictions and improvised almost-believable narratives, such as his hit novel Sovereign Democracy — a story of how Russians aren’t yet mature enough to vote. For me, it was no surprise to see the novelist transform himself and launch into the mystery and thriller genre, as the papers this week are rumoring him to be the secret author of a hit book (Reuters broke the story in English, followed by the Independent). In his latest work of “gangsta fiction,” a title written under a pseudonum called “Close to Zero,” we get a sordid tale of insider corruption, bought off media, and bribed cops.
Let’s not forget that some time ago, Surkov also tried his hand at satire performance art, when he switched jobs to head up a commission touting reform, and even gave a speech to United Russia members of Duma, telling them to open up to other parties and explaining that “liberalization was the next logical step in the process of establishing a stable, democratic, multiparty system in Russia.“
It’s hard to say which way this modern day Dostoyevsky will go next, but like the main character of “Close to Zero,” Yegor Samokhodov, everything lies in the ability to manipulate information and traffic in ideas.