Fyodor Lukyanov: Vitaly Churkin Was the Brightest Symbol of New Russia's Diplomacy

21.02.2017

Vitaly Churkin was the symbol of the highest professionalism. From the backroom negotiations to open verbal battles in the UN Security Council, he used the entire arsenal of tools to protect the interests of his country. Even in the most critical moments he remained, according to his numerous colleagues and opponents, an open and honest interlocutor, able to separate the work of human relations.

A high-level diplomatic work requires many different qualities, including the ability to use a wide arsenal of skills and techniques. In this area there are lot of professionals, experienced and sophisticated negotiators, best experts in their field, certain regional or thematic areas. But there is a special category - those who are masterfully familiar with all the tools, have not only knowledge and skill, but also the talent of public politicians, wittiness, ability to defend the position of the state in public debates. These are real stars, and Vitaly Churkin was such a star all his life.

Having started his career in 1980s, he later became one of the brightest symbols of the new Russia's diplomacy. In the most difficult times, be it the 90s with limited diplomatic resources, or the 2000s - 2010s, when over and over again Russia was at the center of heated international controversies and crises, Vitaly Churkin was the symbol of the highest professionalism. From the backroom negotiations to open verbal battles in the UN Security Council, he used the entire arsenal of tools to protect the interests of his country. Even in the most critical moments he remained, according to his numerous colleagues and opponents, an open and honest interlocutor, able to separate the work of human relations.

The post of representative at the United Nations is unique in the diplomatic service. The one who holds such position is obliged to handle all the issues, in fact, to possess a qualification of a Minister. This position is almost always occupied by the highest level diplomats. Not by chance the current Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, worked in New York for 10 years, and the first representative in the UN was the legendary Andrei Gromyko. Certainly, a decent replacement will be found. But the loss is irreparable, because Vitaly Churkin was not just an outstanding representative of the Russian diplomatic school. He was the real star of diplomacy. And the stars are lit not so often.
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

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