Russian Politics, & Personalities

Posts Tagged ‘Sergei Lavrov


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VTsIOM conucted a poll recently on the members of the Government, and I was kind of surprised by the results.

First of all, Sergei Shoigu has the highest approval rating of anyone in the government (people were not asked about Putin).  I have mixed feelings about Shoigu.  He has held the post of Emergency Situations Minister since Boris Yeltsin came to power.  On the one hand, I feel like he must be doing something right, and his approval rating has always been pretty high.  But then yesterday’s incident makes me pause to think.  His solution to the Bulgaria tragedy is to put black boxes in all boats.  What?  That’s his response?  Quite frankly, the man has never been good in an “emergency” (Beslan, Dubrovka, etc.), and I’m still not sure where he is getting such high numbers.  Unless people are just saying that they like him because they know who he is (he has been in the Government since 1991, after all).  That’s the only thing I can come up with anyway.  Also, presumably, the poll was conducted before the Bulgaria tragedy.

Here are some more numbers:

  • Sergei Lavrov — 47% approval rating.  Okay, I’ll buy that.  He’s one of the most public figures of the Government since he is the head diplomat.
  • Sergei Ivanov — 32% approve of the job he’s doing (or have heard of him, anyway).

And the lows are:

  • Andrei Fursenko — 50% disapprove of the job he is doing.  Hardly suprising since he’s the face of education “reform”, and most teachers are upset about it.
  • Tatiana Golikova — 41% disapprove of the job she is doing.  What is she doing, anyway?  I don’t even know.
  • Alexei Kudrin — 34% disapprove of the job he is doing.  Well, he’s not exactly populist, is he?  And I doubt he’s really out to win any popularity contests.  But then none of these people are, are they?  Their job doesn’t depend on what the general populace think of them.  It only depends on what Putin and Medvedev think of them, and their work.

Some other numbers:

  • 75% of people don’t know who Igor Sechin is;
  • 72% don’t know who Vyacheslav Volodin is; and
  • 71% have never heard of Igor Shuvalov.

I was a little shocked when I saw those numbers, but I bet if you asked Americans the same questions about their Government, they would say the same thing.

Interview with Sergei Lavrov

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Russia Today has an interview with Sergei Lavrov.  There is no date on this, but it appears to be recent.  I am pretty impressed because Sergei Viktorovich does seem to know what he is talking about, and for the most part is being pretty honest.  For example, he says:

You know political exchanges probably have the right to exist. But we don’t want to build our whole foreign policy on the basis of exchanges. We want something else. We want all of our partners to respect our interests and consider these interests when taking actions. We in turn are open to treat our partners’ interests the same way. Of course this means that those interests should be legitimate, that they have to be realized by transparent and open methods, without double standards.

At the same time, however, he is pretty much repeating what has been said before, and sticking to Putin’s lines.  Because of that I am not sure how valuable this interview is.

The interview itself is 35 minutes long, but it is worth watching at least some of it, just to get an idea of Sergei Viktorovich’s persona.  In addition, there is some more personal information that relates to the biographies.  When asked how he finds time to write poetry, and pursue his other hobbies, Lavrov replied that he does not have the time, and has not actually written any poetry in the past five years.  Note that Lavrov has been Foreign Minister for about 5 and a half years.

Lavrov has also promised to continue with these interviews, so if you have any questions (which I do) be sure and post them to RT.

Written by Nina Jobe

October 23, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Special Request

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for a reaction to this whole Iran business.

This will probably sound a bit conspiracy theorist to some of you, but I believe that Russia, and Iran will not abandon each other.  We expect too much if we believe that we can force either side into backing down.  Therefore, this latest announcement from Sergei Lavrov came as no surprise.

While the Iran aspect is interesting, what this story really proves is that Medvedev has no real power or say regarding Russian foreign policy.  The person calling the shots here is still Putin.  This is the political reality of Russia today.  The tandemocracy is not a 50-50 split.  It is probably not even, as Yulia Latynina once said, 70-30.  It is closer to 80-20, and there is not a whole lot we can do to change that.

Which is why I find the Obama administration’s continued attempts to sideline Putin so fascinating.  On the one hand, it could be seen as a smart move, which could result in a boost of power for Medvedev, who hopefully will eventually sideline Putin for good.

But imagine this scenario for a moment: feeling confident because of Obama’s support, Medvedev decides to ditch Putin.  What do you imagine happens?  A super Clan War (way bigger than 06.06, or than the Cherkesov disaster) where the whole Government is split, and the possibility of a military coup looms.  This would tie in with Joe Biden’s idea (that did not come out of thin air, by the way… he read it somewhere) that we want a weak Russia, but I seriously question that claim.

The Obama administration’s policy regarding Putin begs the question, aren’t we just a little full of ourselves?  What makes us think that our approval will help Medvedev in any way?  There is nothing that suggests that is the case, and everything to suggest that this strategy will blow up in our (and Medvedev’s) face.  And that could potentially be a disaster for all of us.

P.S. For a Russian’s view on the Obama administration’s policy regarding Russia, and her government, read Paul Goble’s summary of Anton Orekh’s Ekho Moskvy article.

Written by Nina Jobe

October 14, 2009 at 2:56 PM

Stumble & Sergei Lavrov

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I do not really care about the article attached with this picture, even though I am saving it.  The fun part for me is the picture of Sergei Lavrov that I am saving too.

Written by Nina Jobe

October 10, 2009 at 10:52 AM

Posted in Stumble!

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