Early life and education
During his summer vacations, Lavrov also worked in Khakassia
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.
Diplomatic career in Sri Lanka
Lavrov graduated in 1972. According to the rules of that time, a graduate of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations
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. 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 to Rafiq Nishonov
, who would later become the 12th First Secretary of the Communist Party of Uzbek SSR
. In addition, he gained the diplomatic rank of an attaché
Section of the International Economic Relations and the U.N.
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
. 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.
In October 1990, Andrey Kozyrev
, who led the control of the international organizations at the time, was named Foreign Minister of the Russian SFSR
. In that year, the powers of the Soviet Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic were distributed. Until then the Russian SFSR 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.
Lavrov Meets with President George W. Bush
in the Oval Office of the White House, 7 March 2006
Lavrov Meets with President Barack Obama
in the Oval Office of the White House, 7 May 2009
Lavrov with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
, Munich, Germany, on 5 February 2011
Lavrov is regarded as continuing in the style of his predecessor: a brilliant diplomat but a civil servant rather than a politician. A Russian foreign policy
expert at London's pro-Western Chatham House
has described him as "a tough, reliable, extremely sophisticated negotiator" but adds that "he's not part of Putin's inner sanctum
" and that the toughening of Russian foreign policy has got very little to do with him.
Other diplomats have been much more critical in their appraisal of Lavrov, seeing him as emblematic of President Putin's resurgent violent foreign policies. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
found that Lavrov treated her poorly during negotiations, like a "jerk."
A high-ranking official in the foreign policy apparatus of former US President George W. Bush
described Lavrov as a "complete asshole."
On 15 January 2020, he resigned as part of the cabinet, after President Vladimir Putin
delivered the Presidential Address to the Federal Assembly
, in which he proposed several amendments to the constitution.
On 21 January 2020, he maintained his position in Mikhail Mishustin's Cabinet
Civil war in Syria
In 2012, in the early stages of the Syrian Civil War
, a Russian delegation travelled to Syria to affirm Russia's backing of the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad
. Lavrov and Mikhail Fradkov
, who were part of the delegation, were given a royal welcome by thousands of pro-Assad supporters. The supporters waved Russian flags in thanks to Russia's veto of a UN resolution calling for tough sanctions on the Syrian government.
In October 2019, Lavrov condemned Donald Trump
's decision to send American troops to guard Syria's oil fields
and possibly exploit them, saying that any "exploitation of natural resources of a sovereign state without its consent is illegal".
2014 crisis in Ukraine
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
and Lavrov before a bilateral meeting in Moscow, on 24 March 2016
Lavrov Meets with President Donald Trump
in the Oval Office of the White House, 10 May 2017
Lavrov and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas
, on 15 February 2019
After the March 2014 Crimean status referendum
Lavrov proposed that Ukraine should be independent of any bloc, that the Russian language be recognised officially, and that the constitution be organised along federal lines.
In an interview with the Rossiya 24 TV channel, Lavrov said that the zero-sum
"either-or" bloc-politics of Ukraine were first suggested in 2004 by Karel De Gucht
, then Foreign Minister of Belgium.
leaders voted to officially suspend Russia's membership on 24 March, Lavrov stated that the G8 was an informal organization and membership was optional for Russia.
In a 30 March interview, he spoke of the 21 February agreement
which was signed by Viktor Yanukovich
, Vitaly Klitchko
, Arseniy Yatsenyuk
, and Oleg Tyagnibok
as well as the Foreign Ministers of Poland, France and Germany to promote peaceful changes in Ukrainian power. Lavrov stressed federalism as a solution to the constitutional impasse in Ukraine, and deplored the disofficialisation of the Russian language. He noticed the work of the secretariat of the Council of Europe
at the Venice Commission
to prevent a legitimation of the Crimean referendum, and to expel Russia. Lavrov was "taken aback" when U.S. President Barack Obama
called Russia a "regional power". He deplored the misuse of the Schengen Agreement
to force Crimeans to visit Kyiv
in order to gain a Schengen visa, and noticed that the E.U. proposes a visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens. Lavrov stated that the Maidan revolution
in Kyiv and the results of the Crimean referendum should both be accepted equally by the West. He reiterated the three-part Russian proposal for the progress of Ukraine:
- Constitutional federalism
- Recognition of linguistic minorities
- That Ukraine be a non-aligned state
The Kyiv government on 30 March denounced Lavrov's proposals as amounting to “the complete capitulation of Ukraine, its dismemberment, and the destruction of Ukrainian statehood.
While Lavrov acknowledged that Russia is in contact with the Ukrainian separatist rebels
he denied US and EU allegations that Moscow sponsored the rebellion and accused the United States of aggravating the conflict. "Our American colleagues still prefer to push the Ukrainian leadership toward a confrontational path." He added that chances for settling the Ukrainian crisis would have been higher if it only depended on Russia and Europe.
Lavrov said the separatists want to "defend their culture, their traditions, celebrate their holidays rather than anniversaries of Roman Shukhevych
and Stepan Bandera
In June 2016, Lavrov stated that Russia will never attack any NATO
country, saying: "I am convinced that all serious and honest politicians know perfectly well than Russia will never attack a member state of NATO. We have no such plans."
He also said: "In our security doctrine it is clearly stated that one of the main threats to our safety is the further expansion of NATO to the east."
2017 North Korea crisis
Lavrov likened the war of words between U.S. President Donald Trump
and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
to a kindergarten fight between two children, saying "Together with China we'll continue to strive for a reasonable approach and not an emotional one like when children in a kindergarten start fighting and no-one can stop them."
Lavrov also said that the United States would not carry out a strike on North Korea because "they know for sure – rather than suspect – that it has atomic bombs." He said the US invaded Iraq
"solely because they had 100 percent information that there were no weapons of mass destruction left there."
Lavrov criticized U.S. sanctions
against countries like Iran
and Russia. In August 2018, Lavrov said, "unilateral enforcement measures are illegitimate in international affairs" [...]. "One way to counter these illegitimate barriers and restrictions is we can use national currencies on our bilateral trade". "I strongly believe that abuse of the role the U.S. dollar plays as an international currency will eventually result in its role being undermined".
Lavrov condemned Ukraine
's 2017 education law
, which makes Ukrainian
the only language
of education in state schools. According to Lavrov, the "reaction of Brussels to the Ukrainian Law on Education is utterly vague although it crudely violates Kyiv’s commitments on linguistic and educational rights."
Russia's Foreign Ministry stated that the law is designed to "forcefully establish a mono-ethnic language regime in a multinational state."
Non-citizens in Latvia and Estonia
NATO's Defender-Europe 2021
Honors and awards
Russian President Vladimir Putin
and Lavrov, awarded with the Order of Service to the Fatherland, 1st class, May 2015
- He is an honorary member of the Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society.
- Order of Sergius of Radonezh 1st Class (Russia, 2015) – For his political efforts that have benefited the Russian Orthodox Church
- Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 1st class (2015), 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, 19 August 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)
- Honorary Doctorate in Diplomacy from University of Piraeus. (Greece 2016)
- Order of the Serbian Flag, 1st class (Serbia, 2016)
- Order of the Republika Srpska, (Republic of Srpska, 2018)
- Hero of Labour of the Russian Federation (2020)
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Last edited on 29 April 2021, at 08:58
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