Sergei Borisovich Ivanov (Russian: Серге́й Бори́сович Ивано́в; IPA: [sʲɪrˈɡʲej bɐˈrʲisəvʲɪtɕ ɪvɐˈnof]; born 31 January 1953) is a Russian senior official and statesman. Ivanov was Minister of Defense of Russia from March 2001 to February 2007, Deputy Prime Minister from November 2005 to February 2007, and the First Deputy Prime Minister from February 2007 to May 2008. After the election of Dmitry Medvedev as President of Russia, Ivanov was reappointed a Deputy Prime Minister in Vladimir Putin's second government. From December 2011 to August 2016, Ivanov was the Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office.
Before joining the federal administration in Moscow, Ivanov, a fluent speaker of English, served from the late 1970s in Europe and in Africa as a specialist in law and foreign languages. As an employee of the KGB in Soviet Union era, Ivanov became a friend of his colleague Vladimir Putin, who appointed him as his Deputy in the late 1990s.
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.
Career in Moscow
In August 1998, Vladimir Putin became head of the FSB, 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.
Head of the Security Council
On 15 November 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 allowed 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.
Minister of Defense
Ivanov was named by Vladimir Putin, who had succeeded Yeltsin as President on 31 December 1999, as Russia's Minister of Defense in March 2001. That month Ivanov stepped down as secretary of the Defense, 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 Deputy Prime 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 2004, Sergei Ivanov, then acting Defense Minister, pledged state support to the suspects in Chechen leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev's assassination detained in Qatar and declared that their imprisonment was illegal. Later Qatari prosecutors concluded that the suspects had received the order to eliminate Zelimkhan Yandarbiev from Sergei Ivanov personally.
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.
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 15 December 2006, in Moscow, Sergei Ivanov said to foreign correspondents about Alexander Litvinenko, poisoned 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."
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 Manufacturing industry and arms exports. On 15 February 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. 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 Dmitry Medvedev was nominated to run for presidency with Putin's backing. Ivanov expressed his support for Medvedev's candidacy as well.
Russian opinion polls suggested that Ivanov enjoys wide name recognition among the Russian public with relatively strong approval ratings.
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 where both completed competitive specialized secondary education programs (Putin in chemistry, Ivanov in English language) 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.
Chief of Staff
In December 2011 Ivanov was appointed Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia. He was noted for his hawkish views during the Ukrainian crisis and towards the West and his major role in lobbying for the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War.
He married in 1976 and has two children.
On 20 May 2005, a Volkswagen driven by Ivanov's eldest son Alexander (1977–2014) struck and killed a 68-year-old woman, Svetlana Beridze, on a zebra crossing. Charges against him were, however, dropped. Alexander Ivanov died on 3 November 2014, he drowned in the sea in United Arab Emirates.
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Sergei Ivanov told about Litvinenko’s "bad reputation", Lenta.ru, 16 December 2006 (in Russian).
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, The St. Petersburg Times, 25 November 2005.
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- Сын Сергея Иванова погиб в ОАЭ
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sergei Ivanov.|
- Interview with Sergei Ivanov, in HARDtalk (BBC).
- Sergei Ivanov Biography at spb.ru
- "Russian Defense Minister Arrives In Kyrgyzstan"
|Secretary of the Security Council
| Succeeded by|
|Minister of Defense
| Succeeded by|
|First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
Served alongside: Dmitry Medvedev
| Succeeded by|
|Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration
| Succeeded by|