Streetwise Professor

July 31, 2009

Like a Tarantula Behind Glass

Filed under: Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 2:08 pm

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is undertaking another charm offensive (another irony alert), this one directed at Ukraine (you’re surprised, I’m sure):

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday criticized a Ukrainian decision to expel two diplomats, saying Kiev had not presented any evidence that they were acting in violation of their diplomatic status.

Ukraine ordered Vladimir Lysenko, an adviser at the Russian Embassy, and Alexander Grachev, consul general in Odessa, to leave for “undiplomatic activity,” RIA-Novosti reported.

Yuriy Kostenko, Kiev’s acting foreign minister, said Thursday that his ministry was analyzing Russia’s decision Wednesday to oust two Ukrainian officials but that he was standing by the decision to expel Lysenko and Grachev.

He said the diplomats were “interfering in the country’s internal affairs.”

“The Ukrainian authorities didn’t give us a single example of spying,” Lavrov said, the news agency reported.

The Russian officials were told to leave after weapons movements by the country’s Black Sea Fleet that Ukraine said were not permitted. 

I don’t have anything to say about this specific dispute, but reading the article brought to mind a story told to me by one of the attendees at my Foreign Service/Civil Service talk.  He said that one of his colleagues, who works in intelligence (and has a Russian name, interestingly), told him that “Lavrov is a fascinating person.  Fascinating in the same way that a tarantula behind glass is fascinating.”

I think PETA should investigate this defamation of tarantulas.  After all, they are harmless to humans.

In all seriousness, though, whenever I read Lavrov’s name again, the image of a tarantula will immediately come to mind.

I think you’ve won a new nickname, Sergei!

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8 Comments »

  1. So, what’s wrong with Lavrov?

    Comment by Sublime Oblivion — July 31, 2009 @ 5:09 pm

  2. He seems to be doing an overall good job.

    He’s not one to take crap.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — July 31, 2009 @ 8:55 pm

  3. Hum, “doing a good job” doing what exactly? Skip that, doing Putin’s business is the answer of course, hardly a measure of autonomy and character, but, hey, I digress.

    Comment by penny — July 31, 2009 @ 9:48 pm

  4. As FM, he makes erudite points from the Russian perspective.

    His peers typically do the “business” of their respective governments – “but, hey, I digress.” (so-called “whataboutery”)

    Comment by Cutie Pie — July 31, 2009 @ 10:18 pm

  5. NEWS FLASH: The foreign minister of a country is a DIPLOMAT. Lavrov isn’t. He’s supposed to be DIPLOMATIC. Lavrov doesn’t. He’s supposed to make the nation look MORE CIVILIZED that it is. Lavrov makes it look less. He’s supposed to get things for his country by talking and convincing. Lavrov loses things by threatening and bullying like an ape.

    Clear enough?

    Comment by La Russophobe — August 1, 2009 @ 4:40 am

  6. “Clear,” as in you’re inconsistent.

    In comparison to Biden (a VP, who while not a diplomat can nevertheless be more refined), Lavrov comes across as being more polished.

    As for diplomats, Lavrov is more civil than a good number of others including Richard Holbrooke.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — August 1, 2009 @ 6:58 am

  7. CUTIE PIE:

    You’re simply lying. The data clearl shows that the Obama administration is FAR more popular with foreign countries than the Medvedev administration.

    What’s more, BIDEN IS A POLITICIAN NOT A DIPLOMAT. If you want to compare, you need to compare Lavrov to HILLARY CLINTON, you ignoramus.

    Comparer Hillary to Lavrov in the eyes of the world. The point makes itself.

    The raw untreated sewage that flows from your brain is an excellent insight into the state of Medvedev’s Russia and her “friends.” Instetad of working to make Russia’s diplomacy more effective (by any metric it is currently a total failure, as the electiosn in Moldolva clearly show) you rationalize failure, just as in Soviet times.

    The likes of you are Russia’s true enemies.

    Comment by La Russophobe — August 1, 2009 @ 7:46 am

  8. No, you’re the one LYING by misrepresenting what I said.

    If anything, “the likes of you are” America’s “true enemies.”

    Polls in Moldova and Ukraine show Putin to be more popular than any other world politician.

    The recent vote in Moldova doesn’t contradict this point.

    McFaul has spoken about Russians having a “zero sum” mentality. Meantime, that label more befits the likes of yourself. A good number of folks from that part of the world think well of Putin and the West.

    Comment by Cutie Pie — August 1, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

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