Three seasons Kiriyenko: strategy, Deputy head of the administration differed with the President’s tactics

The election campaign in Russia takes place in several adjoining spaces. Street campaign, which is somehow tied to the figure of Alexei Navalny. Court campaign, where there is a struggle in the entourage of President Vladimir Putin. And, finally, the campaign: the Kremlin pre-election staff under the leadership of Sergei Kiriyenko.

The third campaign is considered to be least important, and this approach seems quite justified — the first two are much brighter, especially in its military component. Real politics happens where something is happening. Time between the current political battles and the decisions about the upcoming elections, which Kiriyenko offers to its customer, there is no connection, why talk about imaginary campaign? Especially that “real campaign” — the rise of Rosneft, the raids of the headquarters of the Bulk, the cultural mayhem — here it is given in its entirety and evidence.

Meanwhile, by itself, the gap between the tactical moves of the Kremlin and the strategic frame, which at least nominally gives these moves are signs of connectivity, seems a much more interesting object for analysis. Such gaps are always interesting: their causes, their boundaries and what should or could appear in place of the void, talking about the political process much more than the standard explanations that are easily superimposed on almost any series of events. If the square (under the Kremlin in this case it refers to the political unit) experiencing significant difficulties with connection, and its tactics nine months before the election does not want to at least pretend to be a strategy that is the gap you need to study.

As this gap appeared not once, to understand her, you need to reconstruct those seven months of the campaign who remained behind. You could even say that the history of adapting Kiriyenko in the role of curator of internal policy and history of education of blind spot right in the middle of the election campaign will be a certain point of view the same story.

Winter. A hostage of other people’s tastes

The campaign started with paradox. If President Putin goes for a fourth term, the main problem is not the victory itself but the manner of this victory. In what form the victory must be repackaged? What are the drivers of the campaign, what was the nature of mobilization, which the Kremlin needs to spend in the name of these elections, and so on? Thus, even in the winter it was not about the technology of winning — it was about its design.

This put Kirienko in a strange position. On the one hand, the work consists in the fact that Putin to win a fourth term, is seen as something sinecure: not a challenge, and encouragement. It is imagined predecessor Kiriyenko Vyacheslav Volodin. On the other hand, the moment when it comes to the design of the campaign, the quality of the result and not the naked figure, the contractor is held hostage to the tastes of those who will judge about this design. The Duma campaign of 2016, which was led by Volodin, was a failure from this point of view. Sterilization and routinization of elections to Parliament was technically straightforward, but aesthetically incorrect decision.

Before he could start work, Kiriyenko has become hostage to the tastes of the President’s entourage. The thesis about the “70/70” (70% turnout, 70% for Putin), he catapulted it seems, with this purpose: to get out of the clinch and return to the conversation from the aesthetic to the practical level. It was a good move. Kirienko began to put together a staff, to talk about the technology and ideology of the campaign. Thus having in hand the same tools as its predecessor.

From January to end of March, the task standing before him, looked like a hardware challenge. To give the customer the feeling of a real campaign, disguised as political machine and its pathology. And to return to the Kremlin has little political culture, without abandoning the use of technologies that built on its denial. No gaps in the time was not yet. On the contrary. Have not yet devised a campaign strategy, as it were excuse the poverty of tactical tasks.

Spring. Facelift for the populist

March 26, 2017 — an important date in Russia’s recent history. Sudden Assembly of protest surrounding the film about the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was a milestone, marking several quality of political transitions. The language of protest became transmedia that has sharply limited the ability of the Kremlin to control antiregime statements using the 282-th article of the Criminal code article on extremism. The Putin majority has lost a monopoly on the presentation of the national body politic. But Alexei Navalny has become the uncontested leader of the opposition.

For Sergey Kirienko rally on March 26 was probably a godsend. The design of the “70/70” was good at the time, when I had to switch vnutrikitayskoy discussion with abstract matters, such as the historical role of Putin, on problems of political practice. But she was not able to change the paradigm in the client’s head Kiriyenko, to make him feel the rhythm of political campaigns. A protest rally was just what we needed.

Was ready and conceptual response to the protest, the first strategic framework of the campaign made by staff under the leadership of Sergei Kiriyenko. New heroes of the global political scene is the populist. Bulk — too populist, albeit a beginner. To get the “70/70”, you shouldn’t just use the usual tools of mobilization — the vote labour collectives, pumping of election commissions, the fight with the observers and so on. The desired acceleration features of the populist image of President Putin: one of the first populists of the new generation need to do a facelift in accordance with the latest trends of political fashion.

At this moment the first identified is the gap between strategy and tactics. If Putin is a populist, the Kremlin deal with Bulk not only unnecessary, but absolutely contraindicated. This struggle itself will create a relationship between the leaders of the one format that will weaken Putin (albeit symbolically), and to strengthen Bulk. But the client, as well as its surroundings, are unable to learn from staff of the wise and simple idea. In the course went power tools, which, despite actively supporting staff Bulk legend, Kiriyenko is not accessible. And thrown with the other floors creative ideas “how to beat the Bulk”.

Summer. Energetic customer

Back in may, things looked pretty simple. In fact, the campaign “populist number one” must be packaged in several pre-election months. And summer and autumn — that is the time between “now” and “day X”, when the President publicly announced the decision to go for a fourth term, will be filled with discussions about the contours of a new political system, new trends, new rules enable the opposition forces in a constructive public dialogue. That is, in General, chatter. As well as local political scandals and sensations: gubernatorial elections, renovation in Moscow, and so on.

The rhetoric of the President on his direct line was drawn from the plan: greatness does not imply aggression. The President really tried to control myself. What can be said about the security forces and their allies among the public politicians. If the plan Kiriyenko at this stage meant that the election victory is a victory “for Putin”, some other players began to sell the President another scenario: victory is “a victory over” on the opposition, fifth column, liberals, social networks and so on. The President, known for his love of the “middle course”, encourages both teams to action.

Discovered a new problem. By engaging in the rhythm of the campaign, the President began to demand ideas regarding their possible actions pre-election actions. Although the logic of the campaign “populist number one” it follows that before announcing the official beginning of the election nothing specifically to do. I had to adjust to the desires of the President, sleeves rolled up, working in the mode of “manual control”. Instead of a thin image moves, thoughtful messages and navidadcolegialas while the image of the future team Kiriyenko develops hardware classics. Inserts into the President’s schedule one event for youth exactly every two weeks. Picks among governors of new victims — those whom the President will talk about “jerks” entrepreneurs and require to take action. This is not a trendy technocratic thought-out populism. This is a routine, the Soviet pack, it is in fact the canonical form in which it was prepared at the request of the President Vladislav Surkov and Volodin.

The gap grew. President Putin, who survived three political system in his post (post-Yeltsin authoritarianism to 2004, Mature authoritarian “sovereign democracy” of 2012, Volodin people’s authoritarianism until now), as it turned out, just lost its own political language. His vocabulary combines elements of dictionaries Vladislav Surkov, Vyacheslav Volodin, and so on. Although these dictionaries are incompatible: according to Surkov, Russia’s political system more Putin; Volodin — without Putin any political system simply do not like Russia. But the political timetable of Putin as if once again appeared in the hands of the creative team, Dmitry Peskov, his namesake Kalimulina and Anton Vaino, decorated 2010, the visit of Putin in a yellow Lada across Siberia, flying in an airplane fire and calls to the Kremlin from the epicenter of the fight against forest fires.

It is clear that Kirienko back in the spring had not planned, what Putin, for example, will personally repair to Moscow the storm drain, save the crop or to send students on construction of the century. But the customer is always right, especially if the client — commander in chief. Beautiful strategy today does not justify poor practice. She has turned into it. And about the “70/70”, and about the fashionable design of the victory, just forgot. The President wants to win the election, so this is what you need to do to collect citizens ‘ complaints and filed them in the green cardboard folders that the President prepare for meetings with the governors. A discussion about the future of the political system to leave for later, as left the “Strategy 2020” or greater privatization.

The Taming Of The Kiriyenko

The gap between the strategy of the election campaign in the fall or earlier will still have at least in General terms, to show the public and how this campaign will look in reality, now sufficiently indicated. No strategy can eliminate from the election campaign of her main character. And the main character will be able to enjoy the victory in the election only if it is convinced that has achieved this victory alone, without (and even against) the eggheads from the headquarters of the Cycling team and their reports on populism and its technological superiority over manual control of the sample in 2010.

In order to bring into the Kremlin has little political culture should be drawn from the Kremlin about everything else — from furniture to incompatible pictures of the world, seamlessly co-exist in the mind of the President. That, of course, impossible and it will not turn Kiriyenko, it does not work for many others. In the gap between the strategic idea and the desire of Putin to implement her own failed many smart and efficient bureaucrats: to Shuvalov, Kudrin and Surkov to Medvedev. Kiriyenko is not the first nor the last victims of their own good intentions.