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U.S. Said to Choose New Ambassador to Russia

Published: April 22, 2014 (Issue # 1806)



  • John Tefft is a career diplomat who previously served as ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania.
    Photo: U.S. Embassy Kiev / Flickr

Amid increasingly chilly relations between the U.S. and Russia, Washington has chosen a new ambassador to Russia who will convey a no-nonsense message as part of a strategy of isolating Moscow from the international community, two media reports said.

The U.S. mission to Russia will be led by John Tefft, a former U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania, Georgia and Ukraine who is known for his critical stance on the Russian government, The New York Times and Kommersant reported. The reports did not say when the White House was expected to announce the appointment, and the U.S. State Department could not be reached for comment about the reports on Monday due to the Easter holiday.

The ambassadorial post has been vacant since February, when former Ambassador Michael McFaul left the job for personal reasons. The job has acquired additional importance in recent weeks due to the high-stakes negotiations between the U.S., Russia, the European Union and Ukraine over the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

The U.S. needs a tough representative of its new policy on Russia, which is quote confrontational and antagonistic, said Fyodor Lukyanov, head of Russia's Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, a think tank with close ties to the Foreign Ministry. Tefft is a very tough and principled diplomat who has never concealed his critical stance with regard to Russia.

According to Lukyanov, the Obama administration will attempt to further isolate Russia regardless of the outcome of the ongoing political and economic turmoil in Ukraine. The role of the new ambassador to Moscow will be to pursue this policy in a pragmatic and effective way, he said.

Tefft's appointment would be a good reflection of the current state of the Russia-U.S. relationship, Lukyanov said by telephone. The U.S. does not need a political person in Moscow today, it needs a professional diplomat.

Former Ambassador MacFaul, who now serves as a professor of political science at Stanford University, said on Twitter that he could not confirm Tefft's appointment but added: He would be a fantastic ambassador. One of the best ambassadors around. Perfect choice.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Oct. 30


Dental-Expo St. Petersburg 2014 concludes today at Lenexpo. Welcoming specialists from throughout the federation, the forum is an opportunity for dentists to share tricks of the trade and peruse the most recent innovations in technology and equipment, with over 100 companies hocking their wares at the event.



Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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