The Multilateralist

Russia’s Veteran United Nations Diplomat

Russia’s Veteran United Nations Diplomat

Here’s the formidable curriculum vitae of Russia’s man at the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin. He speaks fluent English and has served previously as an ambassador to several countries and as a deputy foreign minister.

Bizarrely enough, Churkin also has some experience testifying before the United States Congress. In 1986, the Soviet government dispatched the junior diplomat to speak before Congress about the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown. From the Washington Post‘s account of that testimony:

For more than an hour, the well-tailored diplomat, displaying an array of English slang and the Gorbachev emphasis on image, parried with members of the House energy, conservation and power subcommittee. He fended off the political barbs of one congressman as "mumbo jumbo" and advised the panel not to use such a "commanding tone" if it hoped to elicit cooperation from Moscow.

When subcommittee Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) demanded to know why the Soviet government has failed to inform its own people of the accident, Churkin replied that "the citizens who were affected by the accident are very well taken care of, and if they have any medical problems they will not even have medical bills to pay."