Sergei Ivanov

Infobox Politician
name=Sergei Borisovich Ivanov

caption = Sergei Ivanov in July 2007
birth_date = Birth date and age|1953|1|31|mf=y
spouse= Natalia Ivanova
term_start = March 28, 2001
term_end = February 15, 2007
predecessor = Igor Sergeyev
successor = Anatoliy Serdyukov
office = Defense Minister of the Russian Federation
title2=Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation
term_start2 = November 15, 1999
term_end2 = March 28, 2001
predecessor2 = Vladimir Putin
successor2 = Vladimir Rushailo

Sergei Borisovich Ivanov ( _ru. Серге́й Бори́сович Ивано́в) (born January 31, 1953) is a Russian political figure. He was Minister of Defense from March 2001 to February 2007, Deputy Prime Minister from November 2005 to February 2007, and has been First Deputy Prime Minister since February 2007. Previously, as secretary of the Russian Security Council, Ivanov served as an adviser to President Boris Yeltsin and later President Vladimir Putin (November 1999-March 2001) on matters of national security.

Before joining the federal administration in Moscow, Ivanov—a fluent speaker of English—served in the Soviet and later Russian foreign intelligence service as a specialist in law and foreign languages, both at home and abroad (in Europe and Africa) from the late 1970s to the late 1990s. In 1975, Ivanov graduated from the Department of Philology at Leningrad State University, where he studied English and Swedish, and later completed postgraduate studies in counterintelligence and law in Minsk.

In 1976 he started his service for Leningrad and Leningrad Oblast KGB Directorate, where he became a friend of his colleague Vladimir Putin. [ Ivanov, Sergei] , (in Russian).]

From July 1998 through August 1999 Ivanov served as a deputy to Vladimir Putin, then director of the Federal Security Service. In November 1999, Yeltsin appointed Ivanov secretary of the Security Council, a body charged with advising the president on matters of national security. Ivanov became Russia's defense minister, becoming the first civilian to hold that post, in March 2001. On February 15 2007, Ivanov resigned as defense minister following his elevation to the post of deputy prime minister.

Ivanov is widely considered to be a member of Vladimir Putin's inner circle. [ [ Резидент Россииской Федерации — "Московский Комсомолец" ] ] He was previously seen as the most likely to be nominated Prime Minister following the resignation of Mikhail Fradkov on September 12 2007.

Youth, education, and early career

Ivanov was born in Leningrad. In 1975 he graduated from the English translation branch of the Department of Philology at Leningrad State University, where he majored in English and Swedish. In the late 1970s Ivanov began a two decades career on the staff of the external intelligence service. In 1976 he completed postgraduate studies in counterintelligence, graduating from Higher Courses of the KGB in Minsk.

Upon graduating in 1976, Ivanov was sent to serve for the Leningrad and Leningrad Oblast KGB Directorate, where he became a friend of Vladimir Putin, then a colleague of his. [ [ Biography] by Vladimir Pribylovsky (in Russian).] [ [ Russia Profile - Who's Who? ] ] In the late 1970s Ivanov began working in foreign intelligence, holding various posts in Africa and Europe. In 1981 Ivanov graduated from KGB First Chief Directorate's 101st School (now the Andropov Red-Banner Institute). []

In the 1980s Ivanov served as the Second Secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Helsinki, working directly under the KGB resident Felix Karasev. [ [ Who remembers 2nd Secretary Ivanov?] - Helsingin Sanomat April 1, 2007]

In the mid-1990s, Ivanov became one of the youngest generals in the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. []

Career in Moscow

In August 1998, Vladimir Putin became head of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, and appointed Ivanov his deputy. As deputy director of the Federal Security Service, Ivanov solidified his reputation in Moscow as a competent analyst in matters of domestic and external security. [Aleksei Makarkin and Valeria Sycheva, "Putin's Electoral Staff Opens Inside Security Council"Segodnya", p. 2 Russian Press Digest, November 16, 1999] On November 15 1999 Ivanov was appointed secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, an advisory body charged with formulating presidential directives on national security, by Boris Yeltsin. In that position, Ivanov replaced Putin as Yeltsin's national security adviser upon Putin's promotion to the premiership.

As secretary, Ivanov was responsible for coordinating the daily work of the council, led by the president. But Ivanov's role as secretary was initially unclear to media observers. At the time of his appointment, the Security Council was a relatively new institution. (The council was set up by Yeltsin's tutelage in 1991-1992. [] ) Between 1992 and Ivanov's appointment in 1999, Yeltsin used the council as political expediency had dictated, but had not allow it to emerge as a relatively strong and autonomous institution. [] Ivanov's predecessors in that post, including Putin, according to Western analysts, were either the second most powerful political figure in Russia or the just another functionary lacking close access to the center of state power, depending on their relationship with Yeltsin. []

Defense Minister

Ivanov was named by Vladimir Putin, who had succeeded Yeltsin as President on December 31 1999, as Russia's Minister of Defense in March 2001. That month Ivanov stepped down as secretary of the Security Council, but remained a member. Ivanov had resigned from military service around a year earlier, and was a civilian while serving as secretary of the Security Council. Ivanov therefore became Russia's first civilian defense minister. [] Putin called the personnel changes in Russia's security structures coinciding with Ivanov's appointment as defense minister "a step toward demilitarizing public life." Putin also stressed Ivanov's responsibility for overseeing military reform as defense minister. []

Unsurprisingly to specialists on Russia, Ivanov became bogged down in the sheer difficulty of his duties as Defense Minister. But despite bureaucratic inertia and corruption in the military, Ivanov did preside over some changes the form of a shift towards a more professional army. Although Ivanov was not successful in abandoning the draft, he did downsize it. []

As Defense Minister, Ivanov worked with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to expand Russian-U.S. cooperation against international terrorist threats to both states. []

On May 2001, Ivanov was elected chairman of the Council of Commonwealth of Independent States Defense Ministers.

In October 2003 Sergei Ivanov claimed that Russia did not rule out a pre-emptive military strike anywhere in the world if the national interest demands it. [ [ Russia bares its military teeth] , BBC News, October 2 2003.]

In 2004, Sergei Ivanov, then acting Defence Minister, pledged state support to the suspects in Chechen leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev's assassination detained in Qatar and declared that their imprisonment was illegal. [ [ Sergei Ivanov has promised to strive for discharge of the Russian prisoners in Qatar] ., March 3, 2004 (in Russian).] Later Qatari prosecutors concluded that the suspects had received the order to eliminate Zelimkhan Yandarbiev from Sergei Ivanov personally. [ [ Sergei Ivanov Tied to the Case of the Russians in Qatar] by Mikhail Zygar. Kommersant, April 132004.]

In January 2006, Ivanov received criticism for his downplaying response to the public outcry over a particularly brutal hazing incident at a military base in the Urals, which involved Andrey Sychyov as a victim, whose legs and genitals were amputated due to the vicious beatings and abuse. [ [ Russian Soldier Brutally Hazed] CBS News] [ [ Washington Post (30 January 2006) — Violent Bullying of Russian Conscript Exposed] ] [ [ Hazing Trial Bares Dark Side of Russia's Military] , The New York Times, August 11 2006] [ [] ]

From time to time Ivanov has disconcerted Western audiences with the bluntness of his remarks on international military and political issues, though his political orientation is moderate and generally liberal on economic issues. In a series of public comments on the 2003-2004 elections, for instance, he unequivocally stated his opposition to rolling back the Western-style economic reforms and privatizations of the 1990s. []

On December 15 2006, in Moscow, Sergei Ivanov said to foreign correspondents about Alexander Litvinenko, murdered in London in November, which made headlines in the West: "For us, Litvinenko was nothing. We didn't care what he said and what he wrote on his deathbed." [ [ Poisoned Spy’s Wife Says He Feared Kremlin’s Long Reach] by Alan Cowell, The New York Times, December 172006.
[ Sergei Ivanov told about Litvinenko’s "bad reputation"] ,, December 162006 (in Russian).

Deputy Prime Minister

In November 2005 Ivanov was appointed to the post of Deputy Prime Minister in Mikhail Fradkov's Second Cabinet, with added responsibility for the defense industry and arms exports. On February 15 2007 Putin elevated Ivanov to the post of First Deputy Prime Minister and relieved him of his duties as Defense Minister; [] he was appointed as First Deputy Prime Minister with responsibility over defense industry, aerospace industry nanotechnology and transport. In June 2007 Ivanov was appointed chairman of the Government Council for Nanotechnology. []

2008 presidential election

[] Because of his popularity with voters, Putin's endorsement was expected to help his preferred candidate, according to opinion polls and Russian political analysts.Fact|date=June 2007 This speculation was intensified in November 2005 by Ivanov's promotion to the rank of Deputy Prime Minister. [] The speculation was further intensified in February 2007 by Ivanov's promotion to the post of First Deputy Prime Minister, [] but they ceased after his colleague Dmitri Medvedev was nominated to run for presidency with Putin's backing. Ivanov expressed his support for Medvedev's candidacy as well. [ [ Ivanov had prior knowledge of Medvedev’s nomination] ]

Russian opinion polls suggested that Ivanov enjoys wide name recognition among the Russian public with relatively strong approval ratings. [ [ Ivanov Leads, Zubkov Negligible in Russia] ] [ [ Levada Center poll: 2008 elections] (in Russian)]

Ivanov's career, in terms of his background and rise through Russia's state structures, has often been compared to Putin's, fueling speculation that Ivanov might run for president in 2008. Three months younger than Putin, Ivanov had been a student contemporary of Putin's in their hometown of Leningrad. Both completed competitive specialized secondary education programs (Putin in chemistry, Ivanov in English language) in Leningrad before attending Leningrad State University. [] Both completed postgraduate studies in counterintelligence; and both joined the foreign intelligence service shortly afterward. However, according to Ivanov's recollections, he did not become acquainted with Putin during their years as students, but rather when both were assigned to work in the same foreign intelligence division in Leningrad. []


Ivanov is an FSB colonel-general in reserve. He is fluent in English and Swedish as well as speaking Norwegian, and some French. Ivanov's hobbies include fishing and reading detective novels in the original English. []

He married in 1976 and has two sons: Alexander Sergeyevich Ivanov (b. 1978), works at Vneshekonombank and Sergei Sergeyevich Ivanov (b. 1982), a vice president at Gazprombank since 2006. On May 20, 2005, a Volkswagen driven by Ivanov's eldest son Alexander struck and killed a 68-year-old woman, Svetlana Beridze, on a zebra crossing. Charges against him were, however, quietly dropped. [ [ Russian motorists enraged by elite's flashing blue lights] by Adrian Blomfield, The Daily Telegraph, February 132006.
[ Son of Defence Minister Cleared] , The St. Petersburg Times, November 25, 2005.
[ Sergei Ivanov. Biography] by Vladimir Pribylovsky (in Russian).


External links

* [ Interview with Sergei Ivanov] , in Hardtalk (BBC).
* [ Ivanov, Sergei] , (in Russian).
* [ Biography] by Vladimir Pribylovsky (in Russian).
* [ Russia Profile of Sergei Ivanov]
* [ Sergei Ivanov Biography at]
* [ "Russian Defense Minister Arrives In Kyrgyzstan"]

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