On Dilomat's Day
Former Russian Foreign Ministers Igor Ivanov, Yevgeny Primakov and current Minister Sergey Lavrov at a reception on Diplomat’s Day, Moscow, 2007
Every year on 10th February Russia celebrates the Diplomat’s Day – a professional holiday for those who have devoted their lives to the diplomatic service.
The holiday was set up in October 2002 by the decree of the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The date was chosen for historical reasons: on this day in 1549 the Russian Tsar Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) founded “Posolsky Prikaz” (Ambassadorial Department), which became the first archetype of the Russian Foreign Affairs Agency.
The history of Russian diplomacy is much older and goes back to the first important bilateral act in the 9th century - the Treaty of Peace and Love with the Byzantine Empire in 860, as a result of which Russia received international recognition for the first time.
10th February symbolizes the continuation of successive generations of Russian diplomats in the service of the nation for the benefit of their people preventing the need for military intervention that leads to casualties and material losses by negotiating. Centuries-old traditions and high professional standards have always been the hallmarks of the Russian diplomatic service.
Russian diplomacy aims to create peaceful and stable environment to assure progressive social and economic development. It is worth mentioning, that all diplomatic efforts are made strictly within the framework of international law and at the instance of the countries craving for help.
Throughout its history, the Russian diplomatic service has been distinguished by a large number of diplomats-writers.
The prominent Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) was on the diplomatic service as an advisor in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 14 years.
Alexander Griboyedov, an ambassador to Iran, writer, poet, playwriter is known for authoring the play “Woe from Wit” as well as pianist and composer who wrote two waltz for piano.
Such diplomats as well as Alexander Gorchakov, the minister of foreign affairs, to name a few, became the stuff of legend. They were ideal representatives of the diplomatic profession: diplomats who acquired almost sacral knowledge of managing interstate relations. Distinctive personal qualities and attributes, appropriate manners, proficiency in one or more foreign languages, and a number of written works in literature, history, geography, economics, theology, foreign affairs, international law, and travel portrayed those diplomats as the best career diplomats.
The Soviet Union’s epoch is known by the name Andrey Gromyko. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs (1957–1985) and as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet (1985–1988). Gromyko was responsible for many top decisions on Soviet foreign policy and played a central role in negotiations with foreign powers spanning from the Second World War until he retired in 1988.
Talking about the contemporary phase of the Russian Federation, we should mention prominent diplomats, foreign ministers such as Yevgeny Primakov and the current Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Yevgeny Primakov, politician and diplomat who served as Prime Minister of Russia from 1998 to 1999. During his long career, he also served as Foreign Minister, Speaker of the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union, and chief of the intelligence service. Primakov was an arabist, academician and a member of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Sergey Lavrov - a brilliant diplomat but a civil servant rather than a politician as well as a keen sportsman and a poet. In 1994 he was appointed permanent representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations. On March 9, 2004 he was appointed him Minister of Foreign Affairs and has been holding this position ever since. He succeeded Igor Ivanov in the post, who had served in the job since the late 1990s and who is currently the president of The Russian International Affairs Council.
Our diplomatic corps is intensifying its work amid the current crisis and challenges resulting from the outbreak of the new COVID-19 virus as well as other threats to international peace and security.
Today, in the face of the virus, our work has not stopped. On the contrary, the pandemic has radically re-shaped the way how people interact so our diplomacy is expanding its horizons and moving more to virtual space. Modern diplomacy has become by far diverse and dynamic. It requires a wider range of knowledge in many different fields and diplomats have to adapt swiftly to changed circumstances.
We believe that all of today’s challenges and dangers require unifying efforts. Using diplomacy, following international law and the principles of equality, non-interference in sovereign affairs, mutual respect of each other’s interests, countries will be able to find mutual solutions to the global problems.
By combining the best Russian professional traditions and innovative ideas, we will be able to collaborate effectively and contribute to the strengthening and development of Russian-Qatari relations in various fields and to overcome all threats and challenges.