Kozyrev, Andrey Vladimirovich

Kozyrev, Andrey Vladimirovich
(1951– )
   Diplomat and politician. Born the son of a Soviet diplomat in Brussels, Belgium, Kozyrev graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). He joined the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1968, holding various posts, including head of the Department of International Organizations. Kozyrev served directly under Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze in the waning years of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
   As a radical reformer, he campaigned against ideologically driven overreach in areas of the world where the USSR did not possess strategic interests. He became Boris Yeltsin’s chief foreign relations advisor in 1990, a position that allowed him to assume the role of foreign minister of the Russian Federation upon independence. In his new position, he oversaw Russia’s economic divorce from its various client states around the world, including Cuba and North Korea. As foreign minister, he oriented Russia toward Atlanticism, making integration in the community of Western nations his utmost goal.
   Under the “Kozyrev Doctrine,” Russian foreign policy operated under the assumption that the United States and other Western democracies were as much natural friends and potential allies of the Russian Federation as they were natural enemies of a totalitarian Soviet Union. Consequently, foreign policy centered on developing a strong transatlantic partnership and Russian integration into the West. By the mid-1990s, Kozyrev’s orientation was roundly condemned as naively pro-American and deleterious to Russia’s national interests. His pro-Western reputation earned him the derogatory nickname “Mr. Yes” in the Russian media.
   Despite being criticized for allowing Russia to lose its great-power status, he vigorously defended ethnic Russians in other former Soviet republics and Moscow’s interests in the near abroad, especially in relation to regional conflicts in Tajikistan, Georgia, and Moldova. His failure to support the Orthodox Serbs against their Muslim and Catholic adversaries in the Bosnian War (1992–1995) and acquiescence of eastward expansion by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) severely impacted his popularity among Russia’s nationalists. Shortly after winning a seat in the Duma, Kozyrev was forced to resign in 1996 amid growing criticism of his fealty to the West; he was replaced by Yevgeny Primakov.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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