Date of Birth: 03/02/1952
Mikhail Leonidovich, you changed to its current position of Alexander Paton Bovina, a man very popular both in Russia and in Israel. He raised the bar to extraordinary heights. There was further unrest, when you were assigned to Israel in this regard?
Of course, it was. Alexander Paton I remember all my life, loved his "International Panorama", in which he kept not quite typical for that time. He is a very open, cheerful, it is not surprising that in Israel he enjoyed great popularity. This is an outstanding personality, it can not be replaced at all. Just as it is impossible to overestimate the contribution that he made to the development and improvement of relations between our two countries. I often happen to talk with Alexander E. when he was ambassador to Israel, but to me then and had no idea that it was I who succeeded him in Tel Aviv.
But the Middle East, Israel - for you a mystery?
No, I`m from the seventies to study the problems of this troubled region. Before ambassadorial career, I worked for many years Deputy Chief of the Foreign Ministry`s Middle East Department. Then of it has been allocated a separate, sorry for the tautology, Israel and Palestine department. It happened in 1989. I became the first head of this department, and my supervisor was Gennady Mikhailovich Tarasov, who now arrives in Israel on my shift.
Many times I have been in Lebanon, in Syria. It happened to me and to come to Israel for the first time - in 1989. It was a very interesting time. At that time no Russian embassy was not, and Alexander E. Bovin was preparing to get an appointment in some "quiet" place, New Zealand, for example. The trip to Israel was a complete surprise for it. Bovin - a creative, philosophical and literary warehouse, we are in the department carried out normal routine work. But it was very important, because diplomatic relations between the two countries broke down in 1967. So, there have been rare exchanges of delegations. Alexander E. and in this respect proved to be unique: he was the last Soviet ambassador in Israel, and the first ambassador of Russia. It is, in my opinion, even his credentials were presented twice, once signed by Gorbachev, the second - Yeltsin.
You`ve been an ambassador, if I may put it that way, Yeltsin`s Russia, and now Putin. Do any twists in the Middle East policy of your country, in the instructions received from Moscow, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs?
Now, I would say, increased dynamics, but it is due, primarily, to changes in the situation in the region. And the ministers were replaced. When I started, Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov was ...
Sorry, Mikhail Leonidovich, I`ll kill you. In Israel, there is a perception that Primakov adheres openly pro-Arab sentiment, which automatically means for us - the anti-Israel. Is it true?
I think this erroneous stereotype. Primakov - very balanced diplomat. It was he who played an important role in improving relations between Russia and Israel. Yes, he was often in the Arab world - and as a journalist, and as a diplomat. Yes, and friends in these countries had done. In addition, in those years of contacts with Israel and it was not at all! In the Middle East we were, so to speak, on one leg. The fact that it is necessary to rely on either one of the first to speak was Primakov. He knew it was in the interests of Russia.
Now back to the previous question ...
Of course, in recent years, much has changed in the work of the Foreign Ministry. I think that this is connected not only with the change of management team, but also with the objective factors. In recent years, relations between our countries are becoming more user-friendly, more confidential nature. The scope of cooperation is constantly expanding, it can not affect the intensity and nature of the instructions received by us from Moscow.
You mentioned the balance of Russian policy in the region. How does this notorious balance, and whether it is possible in principle?
Our task - to maintain normal and friendly relations in the region. Special area - new immigrants from the former USSR. They are about a million, and I am sure that most of them belong to Russia positively. It is important for the development of business, for example. And I see the balance in a constructive dialogue, which we are both with Israel and with the Arab world. Our relations with Israel are developing very rapidly, and in Moscow it is very happy. But we are convinced that this process (with its absolute irreversibility) should not go to the detriment of our contacts in the Arab world. In this, too, the interests of Russia: trade, cultural exchange, and, as you may guess, the oil business.
It can be peace in the Middle East is achievable in the foreseeable future?
We must remain optimistic ...
I think that the Madrid Conference of 1991 should be the basis of peaceful dialogue. And the alternative to it, I am sure, no.
You have a lot of attention paid to the work of the consular department? Previously, he had a lot of complaints lately laudatory reviews appeared.
First of all, thank you for the nice information. I certainly understand how load running the consular department. A huge number of complaints - visas, pension issues, legal ... There are all sorts of problems arise in people! To improve the work of consular service, we plan to continue. Up until the exit procedures. It is understandable that the pensioners, for example, from Beersheba difficult to come to us in Tel Aviv, so we are going to him.
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Russia to Israel - "cut off chunk" to you or is it fellow countrymen, although the former?
No, you! Everyone is free to choose where it is more convenient to live. Aliens Russians, who left for permanent residence in other countries, are not a long time for us. In the old days of the Soviet man, to move to the West, forcibly deprived of citizenship, the right to choose. I believe that the function of the state is to make people`s lives more comfortable. People need every possible way to help, not hinder. Immigrants from Russia to Israel - a living bridge between our countries. They retain the mentality, the culture, the language of their country of origin. They are interested in the development of tourism, business and cultural ties. All this is in our interest. We hope that "Russian aliyah" will actively develop cooperation between the two countries are not indifferent to it.
Aliyah from the former USSR and politically active - a dozen of his deputies in the Knesset held. Do you cooperate with Russian MPs, ministers?
Of course. But not along party lines, but on a strictly business basis. The Russian Foreign Ministry has no party factions. Previously, all were in the same party, now all the extremely professional manner. Same thing here. We are an official, government agency, and no preference parties do not provide. Another issue business contacts and friendships.
Russian pop stars, in my opinion, is carried out in Israel for longer than in Russia. The Embassy is somehow in charge of the cultural links, is developing them?
Of course, it is our duty. Cultural relations - one of the priorities of our diplomacy. We have a cultural attache, write letters to Moscow, we support a variety of initiatives. For example, I never in Moscow did not attend as many concerts (and gorgeous!), As in Israel. My wife and I absolutely love this opportunity. This is another plus my Israel trip. When given a free evening, we will go out to the concert. In addition to personal enjoyment, I feel a sense of pride. In this sense, to be ambassador to Israel - a pleasure! I do not know of any other country in the world, including the US, Germany, where we had to ourselves so many opportunities to get acquainted with our same art.
And you have a family here in Israel?
Yes, I have a wife, a son. Now the mother-in-law still lives.
Mother in law derive the brackets, and his wife and son did not want to send to Moscow, when the intifada began?
You know, I never cease to admire the courage of the people of Israel. So many years of living in such a voltage under the force of each. We express our condolences to all the victims of terrorist acts and their families. As for us: I believe that we should live as well as the people of the country in which we operate. Just so you understand her pain, her problems. I did and lived in Lebanon during the civil war, it was too hot. In short, the work is such that nothing can be done.
Are you happy years spent in Israel?
Highly. Interesting country for which I have traveled a lot. But the most interesting - it is the work itself. I spoke with the US ambassador, the French, they confirmed my opinion: work in Israel - is a professional challenge for a diplomat, check "strength." All the same, such a tangle of problems. Stormy political activity, a lot of events. And in human terms, it is very interesting. The unique, holy land, the cradle of three religions. I am Russian, traditionally close to me Christian values, I looked a lot in Israel, I studied.
Belarusian Ambassador Gennady Mikhailovich Lavitsky spare time catching fish, the truth does not say where:
Well, in the store, of course!
... Ukrainian - Dmitry E. Markov, resting, vygulivaya on Tel Aviv`s seafront her Schnauzer:
I just spend my free time, communicating with Gennadi Mikhailovich and Dima ...
And this, too. But the interesting human interaction for me - the best kind of holiday. As for hobbies, I am the first years of tennis playing, then any problems:
Heart. So I am playing with his son in the table. Billiard acquired. Conducted Championship Billiard Embassy.
No, we have no piety in sports, everyone is equal.
What are your plans for the future, Mikhail Leonidovich? Get a little rest...
Relax fail. My Israeli "cadence" in the New Year the area comes to an end, and immediately to Moscow to work in the Middle East department. So with the region not leave.