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Official: Russia's political system a good model for others

MOSCOW (AP) — A senior policy adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin predicted that the nation's political system will live on for a century and serve as a model for others around the world. Vladislav Surkov wrote in a piece published Monday in the daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta that Russia's anti-globalist emphasis on strong national sovereignty is getting increasing traction worldwide.

"The Russian-made political system is not only good for home, it has a significant export potential," he said. "Others study it and borrow from it." Surkov, who oversaw the Kremlin's efforts to tighten control over Russia's political sphere and currently serves as Putin's adviser on Ukraine, predicted that "Putin's big political machine is only starting to gain speed for a long, hard and interesting operation."

Russia-West relations have sunk to their lowest levels since Cold War times after 2014 Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea, allegations of Moscow's meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the war in Syria and other disputes.

The 54-year-old Surkov is not a typical Kremlin official. He famously decorated his Kremlin office with a portrait of American rapper Tupac Shakur along with that of Putin, wrote texts for a Russian rock group, penned a novel under an alias and published political articles full of literary allusions.

With surprising candor, Surkov acknowledged in his Monday's piece that Russia's political institutions just imitate those in Western democracies, while "military and police functions are decisive and the most important" and the entire system hinges entirely on Putin's authority.

He mocked accusations by Washington and its allies of Russian interference abroad. "Foreign politicians blame Russia for meddling in elections and referenda all over the planet," Surkov said. "In fact, it's even more serious than that: Russia is meddling in their brains and they don't know what to do with their changed consciousness."

Mixing sarcasm with bravado, Surkov wrote that "the foreign interest in Russian political algorithms is clear — no prophet is accepted in his home country, and Russia has prophesied what is happening to them now."

He charged that Russia has run ahead of the curve with its anti-globalist stance and fierce defense of its conservative values — approaches that have increasingly spread to other countries. Surkov mentioned Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election, the British decision to exit the European Union, the rise of anti-immigration sentiments across Europe among signs of a growing nationalism.

"Putinism is the ideology of the future," he said.

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