Lavrov, Sergey Viktorovich

Lavrov, Sergey Viktorovich
(1950– )
   Diplomat. Born in Moscow to an Armenian-Russian family, he studied at the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) before being sent to Sri Lanka as a diplomat in the 1970s. When he returned from abroad, he was posted to the Department of International Organizations within the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1994, Lavrov was appointed Russia’s representative to the United Nations (UN), where he served as president of the UN Security Council on several occasions. He took a strong stance against the war in Iraq and the situation in Kosovo during his tenure. Vladimir Putin tapped him to replace Igor Ivanov as foreign minister on 9 March 2004. During the second Putin administration, Lavrov was tasked with managing Russia’s more aggressive posture in foreign relations, including disputes with Ukraine over natural gas, the militarization of Russia’s Arctic Ocean basin, espionage-related complications with Great Britain, and the 2008 South Ossetian War against Georgia. In 2009, he met with American President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, in order to help “reset” the United States–Russia relationship after George W. Bush’s presidency. Unfortunately, the “reset button” gift that was presented to him as a gimmick, stated “overcharge” (peregruzka instead of perezagruzka), thus leading to embarrassment on the part of the American diplomats, whose lack of knowledge of the Russian language became immediately apparent. Lavrov is not considered to be particularly close to Putin or his successor, Dmitry Medvyedev, but is recognized as a tough negotiator and an effective bureaucrat with a keen intellect.
   See also Middle East.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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