|Sergey Lavrov (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov (Russian: Серге́й Викторович Лавров; born 21 March 1950) is a Russian diplomat who has been the Foreign Minister of Russia since 2004. His nomination to the Foreign Minister's office was approved by two Russian presidents, in 2008 by Dmitry Medvedev and in 2012 by Vladimir Putin.
Prior to that, Lavrov was a Soviet diplomat and Russia's ambassador to the United Nations from 1994 to 2004. Besides his native Russian, Lavrov speaks English, French, and Sinhala.
Early life and education
Lavrov was born in Moscow on 21 March 1950 to an Armenian father from Tbilisi and a Russian mother from Georgia. His mother worked in the Soviet Ministry for Foreign Trade. Lavrov graduated from high school with a silver medal. Since his favorite class was physics, he planned to enter either the National Research Nuclear University or the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, but he entered the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) and graduated in 1972. During his education at the MGIMO, Lavrov studied international relations. Soon he learnedSinhalese, the official language of Sri Lanka, as well as Dhivehi, the official language of the Maldives. Moreover, Lavrov learned English and French, but has stated that he is unable to speak the French language fluently. After he was admitted to the university, Lavrov, along with other students, was sent for a month to build the Ostankino Tower. During his summer vacations, Lavrov also worked in Khakassia, Tuva and the Russian Far East. Each semester Lavrov with his fellow students conducted drama performances, which were later presented on the main stage of the university. During the third year of his studies, Lavrov married.
Career in the Soviet Union
Diplomatic career in Sri Lanka
In 1972, Lavrov graduated. As per the rules of that time, a graduate of the Moscow State Institute had to work for the Foreign Ministry for a certain amount of time. Lavrov was employed in the Soviet embassy in Sri Lanka as an advisor, as he was already a specialist on the country. In May of that year, the former British dominion had become a socialist republic. At the time, the Soviet Union and Sri Lanka had close market and economic cooperation and the Soviet Union launched the production of natural rubber in the country. The Soviet embassy in Sri Lanka also maintained relations with the Maldives. The embassy in Sri Lanka employed only 24 diplomats. Lavrov was given the task of continuously analysing the situation in the country, but he also worked as a translator, personal secretary and assistant for Rafiq Nishonov. In addition, he gained the diplomatic rank of anattaché.
Section of the International Economic Relations and the UN
In 1976 Lavrov returned to Moscow. He worked as a third and second secretary in the Section for the International Economic Relations of the USSR. There he was involved in analytics and his office also worked with various international organizations including the United Nations. In 1981, he was sent as a senior adviser to the Soviet mission at the United Nations in New York City. At first he worked as a secretary but was later promoted to secretary and first secretary. In 1988 Lavrov returned to Moscow and was named Deputy Chief of the Section of the International Economic Relations of the USSR. Between 1990 and 1992 he worked as Director of the International Organization of the Soviet Foreign Ministry.
Career in Russia
In October 1990, Andrey Kozyrev, who led the control of the international organizations at the time, was named Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation. In that year, the powers of the Soviet Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Soviet Republic were distributed. Until then the Russian SSR had only a ceremonial role. In October 1991, the foreign ministers of all Soviet republics, except Georgia and the Baltic states, held a meeting where they dealt with the Union of Foreign Ministries. In November 1990, the State Council decided to change its name from the Union of Foreign Ministries to the Foreign Ministry of the Soviet Union and in December that year, the Foreign Ministry of Soviet Russia became the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation. In 1992 Lavrov was named director of the Department for International Organizations and Global Issues in the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation. In April 1991, he was named deputy foreign minister. Lavrov was asked to oversee the activities of the Human Rights and International Cultural Cooperation and the two departments - for the CIS countries, international organizations and international economic cooperation. Lavrov worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs until 1994 when he returned to work in the United Nations, this time as the Permanent Representative of Russia. While in the latter position, he was the President of the United Nations Security Council in December 1995, June 1997, July 1998, October 1999, December 2000, April 2002, and June 2003.
On 9 March 2004, President Vladimir Putin appointed Lavrov to the post of minister of foreign affairs. He succeeded Igor Ivanov in the post. On 21 May 2012, Lavrov was reappointed foreign minister to the cabinet led by prime minister Dimitri Medvedev.
Lavrov is regarded as continuing in the style of his predecessor: a brilliant diplomat but a civil servant rather than a politician, Russia's foreign policy being largely determined by the President of the Russian Federation. A Russian foreign policy expert at London's Chatham House, has described him as "a tough, reliable, extremely sophisticated negotiator", but adds that "he's not part ofPutin's inner sanctum" and that the toughening of Russian foreign policy has got very little to do with him.
Lavrov is married and has a daughter, Ekaterina. His hobbies include playing guitar and writing songs and poetry. He is a keen sportsman and a chain smoker. Lavrov likes to watch football games on television, is an ardent fan of the Moscow club Spartak, and a keen amateur footballer in his own right. Sergej Lavrov is a member of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society.
Honours and awards
- Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 2nd class (2010), 3rd class (2005) and 4th class (1998)
- Order of Honour (1996)
- Honoured Worker of the Diplomatic Service of the Russian Federation (2004)
- Order of the Holy Prince Daniel of Moscow, 1st class (Russian Orthodox Church, 2010) and 2nd class
- Order of Friendship (Kazakhstan, 2005)
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun (Peru, 2007)
- Order of Friendship of Peoples (Belarus, 2006)
- Order of Friendship (Vietnam, 2009)
- Order of Friendship (Laos)
- Medal of Honour (South Ossetia, 19 March 2010) - for his great personal contribution to strengthening international security, peace and stability in the Caucasus, the development of friendly relations between the Republic of South Ossetia and the Russian Federation
- Order of St. Mashtots (Armenia, August 19, 2010) - for outstanding contribution to the consolidation and development of age-old Armenian-Russian friendly relations
- Gold Medal of the Yerevan State University (Armenia, 2007)
- Honorary medal "For participation in the programs of the United Nations" (UN Association of Russia, 2005)