Monday, March 13, 2017

Russia's Diplomatic Corp Is Showing Its Age

President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov (L-R) at the Radisson Blu Resort & Congress Center in Sochi, Russia, May 19, 2016. Source: Mikhail Metzel/TASS

Kathrin Hille, Financial Times: Dearth of young diplomatic talent in Moscow sparks concern

‘Old boys’ network’ steers Russia through worst stand-off with west since cold war

According to the law, Yuri Ushakov must step aside on Monday. That is the day Vladimir Putin’s foreign policy adviser turns 70 — the latest possible retirement age for government officials. Recent talk among Russian diplomats has been of his likely successor. Andrei Denisov, ambassador to China? Or perhaps Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin’s spokesman?

Now the Kremlin has gone silent. “Expect him to stay at least another year. As long as things are so uncertain with regard to Russia-US relations, Putin will not let him go,” says Valery Solovei, a professor at MGIMO, the university where diplomats are trained.

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WNU Editor: When Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin died a few weeks ago, a reader of this blog asked me if there was anyone in the Russian foreign office who could replace someone like him .... my answer was "not really", and those who can measure up are too young (i.e. under the age of 50) .... and that age is a no-no for such an important post. This Financial Times article gives a good explanation on why this is a problem now .... and why it will be an even bigger problem in the future. I can only speak for my generation (those of us who are in our 50s) who were once diplomats .... we gave up on the foreign office because when the Soviet Union collapsed there was no opportunity for us to advance, so we did not renew our contracts and left to pursue other interests. I have no regrets .... though I will admit that I do sometimes wonder where I would be if I did not leave. Hmmm .... yup .... I would definitely be living a different life.  :)

1 comment:

James said...

You would have had to make the transition of the 90's in good form. Being at a somewhat lower level at the time would have helped, but not completely. Enjoy the Chalet.