There’s been a shake up in the Kremlin:  The longtime domestic policy advisor to Vladimir Putin and architect of his highly centralized power structure has been ousted.

48-year old Vladislav Surkov quietly “resigned” last month without explanation, amid denials from the Kremlin that the step was connected to corruption.  Surkov had been critical of an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of state funds from “Skolkovo”, a government project to promote innovation by making Russia’s own “Silicon Valley” on the outskirts of Moscow.

The announcement regarding Surkov’s resignation stated that Vladimir Putin himself accepted Surkov’s resignation, and not Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev who is also reportedly on the outs with putin.

In a Kremlin career spanning 12 years, Surkov saw through controversial political reforms that cemented Putin’s grip on power.