Sergei Borisovich Ivanov ( ;
born January 31, 1953) is a Russian political
He was Minister of
from March 2001 to February 2007, Deputy Prime Minister
2005 to February 2007, and has been First Deputy Prime Minister
since February 2007.
Previously, as secretary of the Russian Security
, Ivanov served as an adviser to President Boris Yeltsin
and later President Vladimir Putin
(November 1999-March 2001) on
matters of national security.
Before joining the federal administration in Moscow, Ivanov—a
fluent speaker of English
the Soviet and later Russian foreign intelligence service as a
specialist in law and foreign languages, both at home and abroad
(in Europe and Africa) from the late 1970s to the late 1990s.
Ivanov graduated from the Department of Philology at Leningrad State University, where
he studied English and Swedish, and later completed postgraduate
studies in counterintelligence and law in Minsk.
In 1976 he started his service for Leningrad and Leningrad Oblast
KGB Directorate, where he became a friend of his colleague Vladimir Putin
From July 1998 through August 1999 Ivanov served as a deputy to
Vladimir Putin, then director of the Federal
. In November 1999, Yeltsin appointed Ivanov
secretary of the Security Council, a body charged with advising the
president on matters of national security. Ivanov became Russia's
defence minister, becoming the first civilian to hold that post, in
March 2001. On February 15, 2007, Ivanov resigned as defence
minister following his elevation to the post of deputy prime
Ivanov is widely considered to be a member of Vladimir
Putin's inner circle
and a member of the Kremlin's Silovik
faction. He was previously seen as the most
likely to be nominated Prime Minister following the resignation of
on September 12,
Youth, education, and early career
born in Leningrad.
In 1975 he graduated from the English
translation branch of the Department of Philology at Leningrad State University
he majored in English
. 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
from Higher Courses of the KGB in Minsk.
graduating in 1976, Ivanov was sent to serve for the Leningrad and
Leningrad Oblast KGB Directorate, where he became a friend of Vladimir Putin, then a colleague of
In the late 1970s Ivanov began working in foreign
intelligence, holding various posts in Africa
. In 1981 Ivanov graduated from KGB
First Chief Directorate
101st School (now the Andropov
1980s Ivanov served as the Second
Secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Helsinki, working
directly under the KGB resident
In the mid-1990s, Ivanov became one of the youngest generals in the
Career in Moscow
In August 1998, Vladimir Putin
head of the Federal
Security Service of the Russian Federation
, 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. On November
15, 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
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
allow 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.
Ivanov was named by Vladimir Putin, who had succeeded Yeltsin as
President on December 31, 1999, as Russia's Minister of Defence
2001. That month Ivanov stepped down as secretary of the Security
Council, 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 defence minister. Putin called the personnel changes
in Russia's security structures coinciding with Ivanov's
appointment as defence minister "a step toward demilitarizing
public life." Putin also stressed Ivanov's responsibility for
overseeing military reform as defence minister.
Unsurprisingly to specialists on Russia, Ivanov became bogged down
in the sheer difficulty of his duties as Defence 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 Defence Minister, Ivanov worked with U.S. Secretary of Defense
Russian-U.S. cooperation against international terrorist threats to
On May 2001, Ivanov was elected chairman of the Council of Commonwealth of Independent
In October 2003 Sergei Ivanov claimed that Russia did not rule out
a pre-emptive military strike anywhere in the world if the national
interest demands it.
Sergei Ivanov, then acting Defence Minister, pledged state support
to the suspects in Chechen leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev's assassination
detained in Qatar and declared
that their imprisonment was illegal.
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
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 December 15, 2006, in Moscow, Sergei Ivanov said to foreign
correspondents about Alexander
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." Poisoned Spy’s Wife Says He Feared Kremlin’s Long
by Alan Cowell, The New
, December 17, 2006.
Sergei Ivanov told about Litvinenko’s "bad
, December 16,
2006 (in Russian).
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
defence industry and arms exports. On February 15, 2007 Putin
elevated Ivanov to the post of First Deputy Prime Minister and
relieved him of his duties as Defence Minister; he was appointed as
First Deputy Prime Minister with responsibility over defense industry
, aerospace industry nanotechnology
. In June 2007 Ivanov was
appointed chairman of the Government Council for
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
was nominated to run
for presidency with Putin's backing. Ivanov expressed his support
for Medvedev's candidacy as well.
suggested that Ivanov enjoys wide name
recognition among the Russian public with relatively strong
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. Both
completed competitive specialized secondary education programs
(Putin in chemistry, Ivanov in English language) in Leningrad
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
Ivanov is an FSB colonel-general
in reserve. He is fluent in
as well as speaking Norwegian
, and some French
. Ivanov's hobbies include fishing and
reading detective novels in the original English.
Sergei Ivanov supports CSKA Moscow
can often be seen at PFC CSKA
and PBC CSKA
He married in 1976 and has two sons: Alexander Sergeyevich Ivanov
(b. 1978), works at Vneshekonombank
and Sergei Sergeyevich Ivanov (b. 1982), a vice president at
On May 20, 2005, a Volkswagen
Ivanov's eldest son Alexander struck and killed a 68-year-old
woman, Svetlana Beridze, on a zebra
. Charges against him were, however, dropped. Russian motorists enraged by elite's flashing blue
by Adrian Blomfield, The
, February 13, 2006.
Son of Defence Minister Cleared
, The St. Petersburg Times
November 25, 2005.
Sergei Ivanov. Biography
Pribylovsky (in Russian).
- Ivanov, Sergei, Lenta.ru (in Russian).
- Резидент Россииской Федерации — "Московский
- Biography by Vladimir
Pribylovsky (in Russian).
- Russia Profile - Who's Who?
- Who remembers 2nd Secretary Ivanov? -
Helsingin Sanomat April 1, 2007
- Aleksei Makarkin and Valeria Sycheva, "Putin's Electoral Staff
Opens Inside Security Council" Segodnya, p. 2 Russian
Press Digest, November 16, 1999
- Russia bares its military teeth, BBC News, October 2, 2003.
- Sergei Ivanov has promised to strive for discharge of the
Russian prisoners in Qatar. Lenta.ru, March 3, 2004 (in Russian).
- Sergei Ivanov Tied to the Case of the Russians in
Qatar by Mikhail Zygar. Kommersant, April 13, 2004.
- Russian Soldier Brutally Hazed CBS News
- Washington Post (30 January 2006) — Violent
Bullying of Russian Conscript Exposed
- Hazing Trial Bares Dark Side of Russia's
Military, The New York Times, August 11, 2006
- Ivanov had prior knowledge of Medvedev’s
- Ivanov Leads, Zubkov Negligible in Russia
- Levada Center poll: 2008 elections (in Russian)