Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 169

Russia’s newly named foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, told reporters yesterday that Russia’s foreign policy would remain unchanged under his stewardship. Following a Kremlin meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Ivanov said that the top priority of Russian foreign policy today is to ensure favorable external conditions for the continuation of Russia’s domestic democratic reforms. Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who reportedly proposed Ivanov for the Foreign Ministry post, was also present at yesterday’s meeting. The former foreign minister said that Yeltsin had praised Ivanov “as a specialist and professional” who “is also well accepted abroad.” Ivanov said that Yeltsin had given him “clear advice and strict instruction” to continue pursuing Russian foreign policy in a manner that would defend the country’s national interests while developing cooperation and partnership and ensuring international security and stability. He provided no specifics (Russian agencies, September 15).

A source from Russia’s Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, was quoted yesterday as saying that immediate, wholesale personnel changes are not expected at the ministry in the wake of Primakov’s departure and Ivanov’s appointment. The number of deputy ministers has, however, been reduced from ten to eight, the source said. Ivanov had previously served as Primakov’s first deputy minister.

One personnel change in the Foreign Ministry involves the departure of retired Rear Admiral Yuri Zubakov, who was appointed to head the government administration. Zubakov had served as Yevgeny Primakov’s deputy–in charge of personnel matters–during Primakov’s earlier tenure as chief of Russia’s Foreign Security Service. Zubakov acted in the same capacity for Primakov when Primakov moved over in early 1996 to assume the foreign minister post (RTR, Russian agencies, September 15).