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Sergei Borisovich Ivanov
Серге́й Бори́сович Ивано́в
Sergei Ivanov in May 2010
Chief of Staff Presidential Administration of Russia
Assumed office
December 2011
President Dmitry Medvedev
Vladimir Putin
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
Dmitry Medvedev
Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation

In office
12 May 2008 – December 2011
First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation

In office
15 February 2007 – 12 May 2008
Serving with Dmitry Medvedev
President Vladimir Putin
Dmitry Medvedev
Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov
Viktor Zubkov
Vladimir Putin
Preceded by Dmitry Medvedev
Succeeded by Viktor Zubkov
Igor Shuvalov
Defence Minister of the Russian Federation

In office
28 March 2001 – 15 February 2007
Preceded by Igor Sergeyev
Succeeded by Anatoliy Serdyukov
Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation

In office
15 November 1999 – 28 March 2001
Preceded by Vladimir Putin
Succeeded by Vladimir Rushailo
Personal details
Born 31 January 1953(1953-01-31) (age 69)
Spouse(s) Natalia Ivanova
Military service
Allegiance  Soviet Union
Service/branch KGB, FIS, FSB
Years of service 1975 - 2000
Rank Colonel General

Sergei Borisovich Ivanov (Russian: Серге́й Бори́сович Ивано́в; born 31 January 1953) is a Russian senior official and statesman. He was Minister of Defence 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. Previously, as secretary of the Russian Security Council, Ivanov served as an adviser to President Boris Yeltsin and later President Vladimir Putin (November 1999-March 2001) on matters of national security. After the election of Dmitry Medvedev as President of Russia, Ivanov was reappointed a deputy prime minister in Vladimir Putin's second government. In December 2011 he was appointed Chief of Staff Presidential Administration of Russia.

Before joining the federal administration in Moscow, Ivanov, a fluent speaker of English—served in 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. In 1975, 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.[1] From July 1998 through August 1999 Ivanov served as a deputy to Vladimir Putin, then director of the Federal Security Service. In November 1999, Yeltsin appointed Ivanov secretary of the Security Council of Russia, 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 15 February 2007, Ivanov resigned as defence minister following his elevation to the post of deputy prime minister.

Ivanov is widely considered to be a member of Vladimir Putin's inner circle and a member of the Kremlin's Silovik faction.[2] He was previously seen as the most likely candidate to replace Mikhail Fradkov as Prime Minister in September 2007.

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.[citation needed]

Upon 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 his.[1][3][4] In the late 1970s Ivanov began working in foreign intelligence, holding various posts in Africa and Europe. In 1981 Ivanov graduated from KGB First Chief Directorate's 101st School (now the Andropov Red-Banner Institute).[5]

In the 1980s Ivanov served as the Second Secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Helsinki, working directly under the KGB resident Felix Karasev.[6]

In the mid-1990s, Ivanov became one of the youngest generals in the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.[5]

Career in Moscow

In August 1998, Vladimir Putin became 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.[7] 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).[8] 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.[8] 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.[8]

Defence Minister

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice meets with Russian Minister of Defence Sergei Ivanov at the G8 meeting for the Ministers of Foreign Affairs on June 29, 2006.

Ivanov was named by Vladimir Putin, who had succeeded Yeltsin as President on 31 December 1999, as Russia's Minister of Defence in March 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.[9] 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.[10]

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.[10]

As Defence Minister, Ivanov worked with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to expand Russian-U.S. cooperation against international terrorist threats to both states.[11]

On May 2001, Ivanov was elected chairman of the Council of Commonwealth of Independent States Defence Ministers.

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.[12]

In 2004, 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.[13] Later Qatari prosecutors concluded that the suspects had received the order to eliminate Zelimkhan Yandarbiev from Sergei Ivanov personally.[14]

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.[15][16][17][18]

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.[10]

On 15 December 2006, in Moscow, Sergei Ivanov said to foreign correspondents about Alexander Litvinenko, murdered 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."[19]

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 15 February 2007 Putin elevated Ivanov to the post of First Deputy Prime Minister and relieved him of his duties as Defence Minister;[20] 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.[21]

2008 presidential election

[2] Because of his popularity with voters, Putin's endorsement was expected to help his preferred candidate, according to opinion polls and Russian political analysts.[citation needed] This speculation was intensified in November 2005 by Ivanov's promotion to the rank of Deputy Prime Minister.[10] The speculation was further intensified in February 2007 by Ivanov's promotion to the post of First Deputy Prime Minister,[9] 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.[22]

Russian opinion polls suggested that Ivanov enjoys wide name recognition among the Russian public with relatively strong approval ratings.[23][24]

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.[5] 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.[5]

Chief of Staff Presidential Administration of Russia

In December 2011 Ivanov was appointed Chief of Staff Presidential Administration of Russia.[25]


Ivanov is an FSB colonel-general in reserve. He is fluent in English and Swedish as well as speaking Norwegian, and some French. Ivanov's hobbies include fishing and reading detective novels in the original English.[5]

Sergei Ivanov supports CSKA Moscow, he can often be seen at PFC CSKA and PBC CSKA matches.[citation needed]

He married in 1976 and has two children.

On 20 May 2005, a Volkswagen driven by Ivanov's eldest son Alexander struck and killed a 68-year-old woman, Svetlana Beridze, on a zebra crossing. Charges against him were, however, dropped.[26]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ivanov, Sergei, (in Russian).
  2. Резидент Россииской Федерации — "Московский Комсомолец"
  3. Biography by Vladimir Pribylovsky (in Russian).
  4. Russia Profile - Who's Who?
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4
  6. Who remembers 2nd Secretary Ivanov? - Helsingin Sanomat 1 April 2007
  7. Aleksei Makarkin and Valeria Sycheva, "Putin's Electoral Staff Opens Inside Security Council" Segodnya, p. 2 Russian Press Digest, 16 November 1999
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2
  9. 9.0 9.1 Finn, Peter. "Russian Leader Expands Powers of a Possible Successor". The Washington Post. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3
  12. Russia bares its military teeth, BBC News, 2 October 2003.
  13. Sergei Ivanov has promised to strive for discharge of the Russian prisoners in Qatar., 3 March 2004 (in Russian).
  14. Sergei Ivanov Tied to the Case of the Russians in Qatar by Mikhail Zygar. Kommersant, 13 April 2004.
  15. Russian Soldier Brutally Hazed CBS News
  16. Washington Post (30 January 2006) — Violent Bullying of Russian Conscript Exposed
  17. Hazing Trial Bares Dark Side of Russia's Military, The New York Times, 11 August 2006
  18. [1]
  19. Poisoned Spy’s Wife Says He Feared Kremlin’s Long Reach by Alan Cowell, The New York Times, 17 December 2006.
    Sergei Ivanov told about Litvinenko’s "bad reputation",, 16 December 2006 (in Russian).
  20. "Putin Promotes Sergei Ivanov to First Deputy Premier (Update3)". Bloomberg. 15 February 2007. 
  22. Ivanov had prior knowledge of Medvedev’s nomination
  23. Ivanov Leads, Zubkov Negligible in Russia
  24. Levada Center poll: 2008 elections (in Russian)
  25. Andrew E. Kramer (December 28, 2011). "Political Promotions in Russia Appear to Belie President’s Promise of Reform". Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  26. Russian motorists enraged by elite's flashing blue lights by Adrian Blomfield, The Daily Telegraph, 13 February 2006.
    Son of Defence Minister Cleared, The St. Petersburg Times, 25 November 2005.
    Sergei Ivanov. Biography by Vladimir Pribylovsky (in Russian).

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Vladimir Putin
Secretary of the Security Council of Russia
Succeeded by
Vladimir Rushailo
Preceded by
Igor Sergeyev
Defence Minister of the Russian Federation
Succeeded by
Anatoliy Serdyukov
Preceded by
Dmitry Medvedev
Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
with Alexander Zhukov

Succeeded by
Alexander Zhukov
Sergey Naryshkin
Preceded by
Dmitry Medvedev
First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
with Dmitry Medvedev

Succeeded by
Viktor Zubkov
Igor Shuvalov
Preceded by
Dmitry Medvedev
Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
with Alexander Zhukov, Alexei Kudrin,
Igor Sechin and Sergey Sobyanin

Succeeded by
Dmitry Medvedev

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