Russia’s New Ambassador to Washington

by Stephen Lendmen, InternationalForecaster:

Antonov now has the dubious honor to be in the eye of the Russia/US diplomatic storm close up in Washington. It may seem at times like operating behind enemy lines.

It’s no easy job operating in hostile territory. Longtime diplomat Anatoly Antonov is up to the challenge. The Kremlin’s web site announced his appointment, saying:

“Vladimir Putin issued an Executive Order appointing Anatoly Antonov Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the United States of America and, concurrently, Permanent Observer of the Russian Federation at the Organisation of American States in Washington, USA.”

Antonov succeeds Sergey Kislyak, his tenure from July 2008 – July 2017. Envoys are tasked with understanding policies of the nations they’re assigned to, including as they unfold daily.

They provide relevant information to their governments back home.

Interfacing with host country officials is part of their job – including diplomats, legislators, and administration officials to the highest levels.

Diplomacy works this way. Bilateral relations depend on it. Treaties and other important business can’t be negotiated any other way.

Numerous congressional members, US diplomats and bureaucrats met with Russian officials over the years, no fuss made of it. Nations deal with each other this way routinely.

The firestorm over Trump team members meeting with Kislyak, including Michael Flynn and Jeff Sessions, was part of a plot to denigrate the president.

Antonov now has the dubious honor to be in the eye of the Russia/US diplomatic storm close up in Washington. It may seem at times like operating behind enemy lines.

A longtime Russian diplomat for nearly 40 years, on September 1, he’ll assume his post. He’s currently Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, earlier serving as Deputy Defense Minister.

In May, he was chosen to succeed Kislyak. In 2015, he was sanctioned by Brussels and Canada, related to phony accusations of “Russian aggression” in Ukraine.

Antonov led Russian negotiations leading to the 2010 New START Treaty. In 2015 and 2016, he headed his government’s negotiations with Washington, leading to the “Memorandum of Mutual Understanding between the Defense Ministries of Russia and the United States on preventing incidents and providing for aviation flights during operations in Syria,” according to a Russian Defense Ministry press release.

He earlier headed Russian delegation talks on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and on combating weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

Kislyak was no sinister spymaster as anti-Trump forces claimed, including media scoundrels bashing the president and Russia relentlessly.

Antonov may face a similar maelstrom simply for doing his job. Experienced in diplomacy, he’s well chosen for the challenge.

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