Putin says his new trade envoy won`t ”frighten” Ukrainian authorities

Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Dmitriy Livanov he has appointed special representative of the President of the Russian Federation on trade and economic ties with Ukraine will not ”frighten” the Ukrainian authorities as he is a civilian person.

During a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev in Crimea on Friday, Putin supported the premier`s proposal that former Education Minister Livanov be appointed trade envoy to Ukraine.

”It goes without saying that his experience can and must be used in other spheres. He will be offered a job as a special representative of the President of the Russian Federation on trade and economic ties with Ukraine,” Putin continued.

”He is not a military man. If our colleagues are frightened by people who once served in the army, they should know that Mr Livanov is a strictly civilian person with vast experience in government work. I think his personal and business qualities will help develop and revive trade and economic ties with our neighbor, which is vital for us,” he added.

Livanov was education minister until August 19 when he was replaced by presidential administration official Olga Vasilyeva.

”As for a diplomatic representative, an ambassador, we will discuss this issue separately. Meanwhile, development of trade and economic ties should always be in the focus of our attention. I am convinced that Mr Livanov will play a positive role here. He can do it, and I hope he will,” Putin told Medvedev.

Dmitry Livanov was born in Moscow on February 15, 1967. He graduated from the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys, majoring in the Physics of Metals (1990), received a postgraduate degree (1992), a law degree from the Moscow State Academy of Law (2003) and a doctorate degree in physics and mathematics (1997).

In 1992-2000, Livanov worked as a senior research fellow at a synthesis research laboratory of the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys and as associate professor at the Institute`s Department of Theoretical Physics. In 1997-2000, he served as the Institute`s deputy pro-rector in charge of scientific research.

In 2000-2004, he was promoted as pro-rector for international cooperation and professor at the Department of Theoretical Physics (both positions held simultaneously).

In April 2004, he became professor at the Institute`s Department of non-ferrous metals.

From May 2004 to November 2005, he headed the Department of State Scientific-Technical and Innovative Policies at the Russian Ministry of Education and Science. From November 2005 to March 2007, he was deputy minister of education and science.

On May 21, 2012, Livanov was appointed Russian Minister of Education and Science.

Ukrainian political expert Vadym Karasiov, the director of the Institute of Global Strategies, said after Livanov`s appointment as Russian presidential special envoy on the development of trade-economic, scientific and technical relations with Ukraine, that he might become an unofficial ambassador of Russia to Ukraine.

Leonid Kalashnikov, the first deputy head of the State Duma committee on international affairs, shares the same view, saying he does not rule out that Livanov may become Russian ambassador to Ukraine in future.

On July 28, Putin relieved Mikhail Zurabov of his duties as Russian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Kyiv, the post he occupied since August 5, 2009. Sergei Toropov was appointed as Russian charge d`affaires in Ukraine. Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on July 29 that Russia had requested an approval of the appointment of Mikhail Babich, the presidential representative in Russia`s Volga (Privolzhsky) Federal District, as Russia`s ambassador to Ukraine.

On August 3, Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for European Integration Olena Zerkal said that the issue of the appointment of the Russian ambassador to Ukraine had been removed from the agenda on Ukraine`s initiative.

At the same time, Leonid Slutsky, the head of the State Duma committee on CIS affairs, remains optimistic and forecasts that a new ambassador of Russia to Ukraine will most likely be approved after the election of the State Duma of the seventh convocation.

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