The first high-level changes in the Russian Foreign Ministry since the appointment of Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov earlier this month confirm that Russian diplomacy is being refocused away from the West and toward the CIS states. As a leading Moscow daily put it, the changes also demonstrate Primakov’s intention to rely on representatives of the Soviet-era "old guard" rather than on younger diplomats who rose with former foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev. Two new appointees, Boris Pastukhov and Yuri Zubakov, were named February 3 to the posts of First Deputy and Deputy Foreign Minister, respectively.
The 62-year-old Pastukhov is a long-time Communist party apparatchik who made a career in the Soviet Komsomol youth league, rising from a local Komsomol First Secretary in 1962 to Komsomol Central Committee First Secretary from 1977 to 1982. Following a four-year stint as chairman of the Soviet State Committee for Publishing, he entered the foreign service. Pastukhov later served as Soviet ambassador to Denmark and Afghanistan. He was named deputy foreign minister in 1992 following the closure of the Russian embassy in Kabul. In Moscow, he dealt primarily with the former Soviet Union’s "hot spots." The Georgian-Abkhazian conflict was his area of special interest. In his new position, Pastukhov will oversee Russian policy on conflicts within the CIS.
Less is known about Rear Admiral Yuri Zubakov, 52, who follows Primakov from the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, where he had served since 1991 as a deputy director in charge of personnel. Zubakov’s transfer to the Foreign Ministry further strengthens the link between Russia’s diplomatic and foreign intelligence services. The fact that he will oversee personnel matters in the Foreign Ministry suggests that the link will be reinforced in the months to come. (4)
France Tries to Boost Russia’s Status.