I’m desperately trying to catch up with several items that I’ve encountered over the last week. Joera Mulders of the excellent Russia Watchers sent me the following story about Nikita Ivanov, a former official in the President’s administration, who was kicked off United Russia’s electoral lists.
According to Vedomosti, the Central Election Committee noticed that United Russia electoral list was one short of the 600 named at its party congress. The missing name turned out to be Ivanov, though he participated in ER’s much touted, but virtually unknown to the public, “primaries.” Ivanov has a long history working with the Putinistas. He got his start working as an advisor to Presidential aide, Sergei Prikhodko in 2000. From 2005-2008, he served as the deputy head of Office of Communications with Foreign Countries.
Apparently, Ivanov also served, and here is where it get juicy, as a liaison between the Presidential administration and pro-Kremlin youth under the direction of the Grey Cardinal himself, Vladislav Surkov..
According to a former employee of the Office of Communications, Ivanov’s special duties was to coordinate between the administration and organs of Internal Affairs on street demonstrations. “In 2005, young people who arrived on a bus attacked one of the opposition meetings with baseball bats. The police detained the hooligans, delivered them to the District Internal Affairs office, and held them for several hours. Then some employee from the President’s administration came to the division and after that all the detainees were let go without charges,” says oppositionist Ilya Yashin, then a member a Yabloko. According to him, it came out several days later that this employee was Ivanov, and he wrote about in a newspaper. “After that the deputy chairman of Yabloko, Sergei Ivanenko, forwarded me a message from Ivanov from a contact in the Kremlin: if there are similar articles in the future, a lot of unpleasantness would befall on me,” Yashin remembered.
According to a person close to the Kremlin administration, Ivanov is directly under the first deputy head Vladislav Surkov and has informally worked with pro-Kremlin youth, and after Manezh [riot], football fans. While doing this, he was transferred to United Russia’s executive committee. According to United Russia, however, no one ever saw him at the executive committee and what he does is unknown.
Why was Ivanov kicked off United Russia list despite his loyal service to Surkov? It unclear. All Vedomosti cites is a supposed “conflict with important Kremlin officials.”