A secret Foreign Ministry document leaked to the Russian press this week has revealed plans for a complete overhaul of Russia’s external relations and objectives. The document harnesses Russian foreign policy to Dmitry Medvedev’s modernization drive and equates foreign policy goals with Russia’s long-term development. But it also reveals profound Europhilia, a deep suspicion of China, and aggressive plans for the expansion of Russia Inc.
The Russian and Ukrainian presidents yesterday signed a historic deal on gas supplies and the future of the Russian Naval Base in Sevastopol. In exchange for a 30 percent discount on Russian gas deliveries, Ukraine will allow the Russian Black Sea Fleet to remain in Crimea until 2042 – a 25 year extension on the current lease, which expires in 2017. The deal will cost Moscow some 40 billion dollars, and means Ukraine (probably) will not join NATO for at least 30 years. But was it worth it?
Sergei Lavrov (Сергей Викторович Лавров) was born March 21, 1950 in Moscow. He has been Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation since 2004, serving under presidents Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev and prime ministers Mikhail Fradkov, Viktor Zubkov and Vladimir Putin.
In 1972 Lavrov graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and was sent as a Soviet diplomat to Sri Lanka, where he worked for four years. In 1981 Lavrov was appointed senior advisor to the Soviet mission at the UN in New York, where he worked until 1988. Returning to Moscow, he served as deputy head of the Department of International Economic Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1988 to 1990. In the early 1990s he was director of the Department of International Organizations and Global Issues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served as deputy foreign minister from 1992 to 1994.
Lavrov served as Russia’s permanent representative to the United Nations for ten years before being appointed Foreign Minister in March, 2004. During this time he was president of the UN Security Council on seven occasions. He was reappointed foreign minister in 2008.
Following the five day war in South Ossetia in 2008, British newspaper the Daily Telegraph alleged that Lavrov flew into a rage and swore at his British counterpart David Miliband during a telephone conversation in which Miliband criticized Russia’s actions. Miliband had previously expelled Russian diplomats from London over Russia’s failure to cooperate with the British investigation into the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. Lavrov responded by closing down branches of the British Council in Russia.
Lavrov is married and has one daughter. He speaks Russian, English, French and Sinhala and lists his hobbies as sports, writing songs and poetry.