Vladislav Surkov has visited Tskhinval
Russian president’s aide Vladislav Surkov commended policies and actions of South Ossetia president while visiting the republic the other day.
“I saw the legacy you inherited from the previous government, and I was stunned by the irresponsibility and lack of professionalism that used to reign here,” Surkov said to president Leonid Tibilov in Tskhinval, after a tour of the South-Ossetian capital when he had met local senior officials and visited the republic’s soon-to-be-inaugurated children’s hospital and theater. The previous government he referred to is that of Eduard Kokoity who was president of South Ossetia between 2001 and 2011 and is one of the possible candidates to run for presidency on April 9, 2017.
Surkov said things had improved a lot under Tibilov. He said Russia was pleased that the funds it provided to South Ossetia were “spent as they should – on helping people, improving the quality of their lives”, and that the republic’s authorities “prevented the money being squandered”.
“Despite the difficult economic situation [in Russia], exceptions have been made for South Ossetia, and an increasing amount of financial support has been provided to it,” Surkov said.
- Many experts say Surkov’s public praise of president Tibilov and criticism of Kokoity is a surefire sign the Kremlin will be throwing its weight behind Tibilov when he runs for re-election on April 9. Speaker of the South-Ossetian parliament Anatoly Bibilov and ex president Kokoity are likely to vie for the post too.
- Vladislav Surkov is seen by many as one of the heavyweight politicians in Russia. He was appointed aide to Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2003, and overseeing relations with and financial support for Abkhazia and South Ossetia has been among his official responsibilities in the capacity. Some experts believe he is also in charge of Moscow’s policies for Ukraine and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics.
- EU has put him on its list of personae non grata – politicians it has barred from entering its countries for what it describes as their complicity in the Ukrainian crisis.