Senator Ivanov Leaves the Council of the Federation

July 3, 2013
Former Deputy PM Vladislav Surkov. Source: © RIA Novosti. Alexey Druzhinin 15:47 30/01/2012

[Nikita Ivanov is a close associate of former Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov who was ousted from power in May. — Ed.]

Nikita Ivanov will be replaced with an ethnic Ingush.

Nikita Ivanov, a senator from Ingushetia will soon leave the Council of the Federation, according to a senior official of the regional administration.

“Nikita Ivanov is not on the list of candidates. He became a senator by accident, was given a chance, but didn’t succeed”, the official said.

At the time this issue was published Izvestia couldn’t reach the senator for comment. Irina Kuksenkova, the spokesperson for the President of Ingushetia Yunus-Bek Evkurov neither confirmed nor denied the information about the senator’s replacement. She noted, however, that the government was discussing potential candidates to replace Mr. Ivanov.

Rostislav Turovsky, the Vice-President of the Center for Political Technologies suggests, that Nikita Ivanov could be replaced by Mukharbek Didigov, the speaker of the regional parliament and a close associate of Mr. Evkurov. However, according to the expert, there could be other influential local politicians among the potential candidates.

“Evkurov needs to consolidate his clan, so he needs an influential politician on his side, who will be represent his interests in the Council of the Federation. The appointment of Mr. Ivanov was politically expedient at the time when Mr. Surkov was at the height of his power. The deal was to appoint Mr. Ivanov to a high-level position. However the deal lost its relevance long ago”, the expert explains.

Since early 2000s Nikita Ivanov worked in the Presidential Administration under the command of Vladislav Surkov, the then PA First Deputy Chief. Some media mentioned Mr. Ivanov as an unofficial overseer of the pro-Kremlin youth organizations. It is believed that Surkov put Ivanov in charge of overseeing such movements, as “Nashi,” “Young Russia,” and “Universal Altergolbalist League” (VAL). Also he was allegedly a point of contact with soccer fan and nationalist groups. In 2005 it was reported that he showed up at a police station to set free some thugs armed with baseball bats, who attacked members of Eduard Limonov’s National-Bolshevik Party, now outlawed.

In September, 2011, Ivanov was put on the list of the “United Russia” candidates for the State Duma, but later his name disappeared from that list. In the end in 2011 he was elected to the Council of the Federation where he became a Deputy Chairman of the Defense and Security Committee.

Alexei Mukhin, the Director of the Center for Political Information, also believes that the decision to recall Ivanov was made because of Vladislav Surkov’s departure.

“Without a doubt, the real reason behind this is that Nikita Ivanov is one of Surkov’s men. His replacement will depend on who wins the elections. Most likely that person will choose a senator with a lot of experience and well connected at the federal level”, argues Mukhin.

Alexaner Chekalin, a senator from Udmurtia and a member of the Committee headed by Ivanov, said that Ivanov’s departure will be a loss both for the Committee and for Ingushetia.

Ivanov is not the first member of an “ethnically homogenous” region to be replaced in the Council of the Federation by a representative of an indigenous nation. Earlier Izvestia reported that the seat of Larissa Ponomareva, a senator from Chukotka Autonomous Region, will be taken by an ethnic chukcha.

Officially Mr. Ivanov’s tenure expires in October 2013.