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Putin’s lackey without an opinion. He arrogantly set himself on fire, diplomats remember Lavrov – 2024-03-29 00:02:17

It’s been twenty years since one of the world’s most famous diplomats, Sergei Lavrov, took up the position in which he ruined his reputation in recent years by advocating war crimes. Czech politicians and diplomats who have met Lavrov describe him to Aktuálně.cz as an extremely intelligent person who is completely loyal to his tsar, Vladimir Putin.

In 2004, when Lavrov took up the post of Russian Foreign Minister, he still had a good reputation among Western partners. “He created this in the 1980s and 1990s, when Russia was quite an active and valid partner on the international scene. Those who remembered him from that time suddenly did not understand the Lavrov who appeared afterwards,” describes the former foreign minister from 2014 to 2017 Lubomír Zaorálek, who met with the head of Russian diplomacy several times.

“He gave me the impression of almost a supercomputer, that is, like someone who you ask about any topic and he will answer everything. I would even better describe him as a chess player, which is not surprising for a Russian, but he seemed like an excellent chess player to me,” adds Zaorálek .

The seventy-four-year-old native of Moscow spent almost the entire eighties as a diplomat at the Soviet representation at the United Nations in New York. Since 1994, he has served as the Russian ambassador to the United Nations. He held this position for ten years, then President Vladimir Putin called him to Moscow and appointed him the head of Russian diplomacy, which he is to this day.

Former Foreign Minister from 2002 to 2004 Cyril Svoboda describes Lavrov as an exact copy of Putin. “He is a person without an opinion. He was always just a projection of an institution or a person for whom he did diplomacy. That is his character trait, he and Putin pull the same rope,” says Svoboda, who met him twice.

The language of the Kremlin

Unlike the Russian head of state, Lavrov is known for his particularly sharp demeanor, according to Jiří Just, a journalist living in Moscow who met him at one of the events for foreign journalists working in Russia. Just believes that Lavrov does not share the same views on the world as Putin, but he is loyal to the regime and speaks the language that the Kremlin uses to communicate with its people and the outside world.

“Personally, I was surprised that even during informal events behind closed doors, they would not forgive expressions like Anglo-Saxons and the like. But that is actually normal in contemporary Russia,” Just describes.

Petr Kolář, the current adviser to the Czech president, also remembers Lavrov, who sat at the same table with him when he was ambassador to Russia in 2011-2012.

“We met during one of the many diplomatic lunches. Lavrov was there briefly, he arrogantly lit a fire in the room, even though smoking was not allowed there. I asked him then why they invaded Georgia and separated South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which at that time they were not capable of independent existence without the influx of Russian money. I told him that they got nothing from it, just a damaged international reputation,” Kolář recalls.

The Russian foreign minister looked at him, took a sniff of his cigarette and said sarcastically: “Well, we subsidize South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and you subsidize Greece, what do you get?” “The Greek ambassador was sitting next to me, and it was rattling so much that he was taken aback. It was just at the time when the Greeks were experiencing the most difficult financial crisis,” Kolář adds.

Behavior change

When Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, negotiations with Lavrov gradually lost their rationality shortly thereafter, according to Zaorálek. “We always had a bit of a fight on the Eastern Partnership issues, but he was an excellent debater and wanted to discuss everything. But then suddenly he turned into someone who, when he bumped into each other, the debate was over and he started acting very uncompromisingly. That worried me and I’m very worried about it he thought,” he recalls.

According to him, Lavrov became aggressive and aggressive, and he and other ministers talked about how he had changed. “Suddenly, it seemed to us that this is a different Lavrov than the one we knew from the past. Later, he was only talked about as a figure who does Putin’s politics,” he adds.

According to Kolar, Lavrov can no longer exist without the head of the Kremlin, which the minister himself is aware of. The former ambassador refers to him as Putin’s devoted lackey who did a lot of dirty work for him on the international stage. “There is no way out for him,” he concludes.

Video: “What the hell are you doing here?” Lavrov lashed out at journalists at the summit, was silent about Prigozhin (28 August 2023)

“What the hell are you doing here?” Lavrov replied to the Current Time correspondent. | Video: Radio Free Europe

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