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27 Feb, 2023 18:23

Kremlin ‘ideologist’-turned-critic dies aged 72

The prominent Russian political strategist Gleb Pavlovsky was instrumental in President Vladimir Putin’s early election campaigns
Kremlin ‘ideologist’-turned-critic dies aged 72

Russian journalist and political scientist Gleb Pavlovsky, has died at the age of 72, Russia’s Vedomosti newspaper announced on Monday. Pavlovsky was known as a prominent political strategist who was particularly instrumental in the early election campaigns of Vladimir Putin, now President of Russia. He also worked for the Kremlin before becoming a fierce critic.

The political strategist died in a Moscow hospice following a prolonged and "serious illness," the media reported, citing his friends.

Born in the Ukrainian city of Odessa in 1951, Pavlovsky was behind the establishment in 1985 of one of the first legal Soviet political opposition groups, the Social Initiatives Club. Two years later, he co-founded the first private Soviet news agency, ‘Post Factum’, which he headed until 1993.

In the early 1990s, Pavlovsky was also the deputy board chairman of the ‘Kommersant’ business daily and worked with some other major Russian newspapers like ‘Nezavisimaya Gazeta’ or ‘Moskovsky Komsomolets.’

In 1995, Pavlovsky founded the Effective Policy Fund, a political strategy center that led election campaigns, including the first presidential campaign of Vladimir Putin back in 1999. In 2004, he worked for the former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich during his election campaign as well.

Some Russian media, including Vedomosti, called Pavlovsky one of the "major ideologists" of the Kremlin’s domestic policy in the 2000s. According to the paper, it was during this time that the idea of "sovereign democracy" was coined.

Between 2008 and 2011, Pavlovsky worked as an adviser to the then-presidential administration head, Sergey Naryshkin. At that time, he openly supported the idea of the then-President Dmitry Medvedev running for a second term. Pavlovsky opposed Putin’s re-election in 2012 and argued that the president alone could not be a personal guarantor of Russia’s unity.

After 2012, Pavlovsky joined the opposition and turned into one of the Kremlin’s critics. In 2022, he actively criticized Moscow’s decision to launch a military operation in Ukraine and claimed that the "right thing to do" was to end it "under any pretext."