Anatoly Antonov, currently Russia’s deputy foreign minister, will take over as Russia’s ambassador to the US on September 1.
Antonov, who has been appointed to the role by Russian President Vladimir Putin and replaces long-time ambassador Sergey Kislyak, takes over at a time when tensions are at an all-time high over Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
Antonov is currently under Western sanctions in connection with his involvement with the deployment of Russian troops into Ukraine during the Crimea crisis in 2014.
Throughout more than 30 years working in Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Antonov has earned a reputation as a “bull-terrier” and military-style man.
Here’s what you need to know about the man that many expect to take a tough stance on Russia’s relations with the West:
Antonov graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1983 and has worked in Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 30 years.
- Russia’s Deputy Minister of Defense Anatoly Antonov delivers his speech on “Major Power Perspectives on Peace and Security in the Asia-Pacific” on Sunday, June 1, 2014.
Source: Russia’s Ministry of Defense
Over the years, Antonov has moved to higher and higher posts representing Soviet and later Russian foreign interests. He became director of the Department of Security and Disarmament in 2004.
Between 2011 and 2016, Antonov served as Russia’s deputy defense minister — a period during which Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine.
As a result, Antonov was one of the Russian officials sanctioned for his role in overseeing the deployment of Russian troops into Ukrainian territory.
In 2016, Antonov was promoted to Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. A long-time Kremlin insider, he was at one point considered for the role of Russia’s representative to the UN.
Ultimately, however, Putin appointed Antonov for the role of Russia’s ambassador to the US— a move that was voted in by the Federal Assembly back in May.
- Thomson Reuters
Antonov replaces Sergey Kislyak, who has served as Russia’s ambassador to the US since 2008.
- Getty Mario Tama
He takes over as ambassador during a particularly tense time between the two countries — sanctions, the war in Syria, and allegations of Russian hacking of the 2016 presidential election all put Kislyak at the center of repeated media firestorms in the US.
- Russian Embassy
Source: Business Insider
Many in Russia expect Antonov to differ from his predecessor by taking a much more aggressive position in US-Russian relations. One source who has worked with Antonov before referred to him as a “bull terrier.”
Source: The Moscow Times
“Russia and the United States are simply doomed to positive cooperation,” Antonov was once quoted by Russia’s TASS News.
Source: The Moscow Times