Sergey Lavrov (l) and Yevgeny Primakov. Source: Eduard Pesov / RIA Novosti
The moment Yevgeny Primakov took charge, the Russian Foreign Ministry heralded a fundamental turn in foreign policy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the VGTRK television company in an interview on the eve of the jubilee of Yevgeny Primakov, the doyen of Russian politics, a renowned diplomat and politician who turns 85 today.
From January 1996 to September 1998 Primakov was Russia’s foreign minister, and from September 1998 to May 1999 led Russia’s Cabinet of Ministers.
“I believe that in the near future historians will coin a special term to describe Primakov’s role in politics. They may call it the Primakov Doctrine,” Lavrov said. “The moment he took over, the Russian Foreign Ministry heralded a dramatic turn of Russia’s foreign policy. Russia left the path our Western partners had tried to make it follow after the breakup of the Soviet Union and embarked on a track of its own,” Lavrov said.
He recalled that Primakov was the first to have come out with an idea of enhancing cooperation in the trilateral format of Russia, India and China (RIC), which triggered the emergence of the BRICS group of nations. “The line of countries eager to join that structure as full-fledged members or as dialogue partners keeps getting longer,” Lavrov said.
Lavrov confirmed that over the years Primakov was Russia’s foreign minister, the high-rise building in Smolenskaya Square underwent some fundamental changes. However, “inside the foreign minister’s room he avoided changing anything and his successor, Igor Ivanov, followed suit.”
“I have not let change anything either, because it’s history,” Lavrov said. “It is extremely important to preserve intact the interior created the moment the building was put up. The building itself is of great architectural value.”
Lavrov described Primakov as “a phenomenon not only in our foreign policy, but in the Russian state, too, because after he was invited to head the Russian government he made the decisive contribution to overcoming the effects of the 1998 default and crisis.”
“His government patched a large whole and made it possible to restore the country to stability,” Lavrov said. “His presence in the Russian foreign minister’s seat stabilized the foreign policy and made it robust and independent.
First published by TASS.
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