Vladislav Surkov, nicknamed the “gray cardinal,” will be reassigned to a new post after more than 10 years heading Russia’s domestic political agenda. The move shows Prime Minister Vladimir Putin may be open to political reform—at least while tens of thousands of protesters claim he rigged elections. Surkov designed the system of “sovereign democracy” that Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev governed under. He’s been blasted recently by billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov as a “puppetmaster” who privatized politics. Surkov will be in charge of “modernization and innovation” but will not have a hand in domestic politics. Meanwhile, Putin said protesters have every right to “fly their flag” and exist, though they lack a clear agenda and organization.
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