Russia's future envoy to NATO is nationalist

A nationalist hawk is close to becoming Russia's new envoy to NATO, amid major tensions over U.S. plans for an anti-missile shield in Europe. Dmitry Rogozin's candidacy has to be approved by President Putin, after Russia's parliament signed off on the app

Rogozin has already pledged to continue with Mr Putin's foreign policy goals.  He wants Russian influence restored in the Balkans, and is adamant that military force is not an answer to the Iranian nuclear debate.

“We have decent and even good relations with separate NATO members. Problems and misunderstanding arise when they all get together. This includes the issue of Kosovo. We don’t understand why independence should necessarily be granted to Albanians. Or the issue of anti-missile defence: why should this system be deployed on our western borders? And there are many other issues. We must learn to understand and hear each other. Dialogue isn’t two monologues. I’ll try to work with public opinion and the parliaments of the NATO member countries,” Rogozin says.

Viktor Kremenyuk, Deputy Director of the U.S. and Canada Institute in Moscow, says Rogozin “may be a very good ambassador”.

“He is sophisticated, he has a very high scientific degree. He read something and he knows something, contrary to some other members of the parliament. So, I think he may really play a good role in this position,” Kremenuyk says.

The expert says that “due to his qualifications” Rogozin “may understand that the defence of Russian interests is in the co-operation with NATO but not in the confrontation”.  
Dmitry Rogozin was born in 1963 and graduated from the Moscow State University in 1986. He has a PhD in Philosophy.

Rogozin was working for the government just three years ago. He was the President's special envoy in Kaliningrad, the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea.

He became widely known in Russia as leader of the nationalist-patriotic bloc ‘Rodina’, or ‘Motherland’, which was widely reported to have been set up by the Kremlin, to capture the left-wing electorate.

“I think the word ‘nationalist’ is inappropriate for international diplomacy. All the countries are just trying to defend their interests,” Rogozin says.

The job of RUssia's envoy to NATO promises to be extremely challenging.

Russia staunchly opposes the creation of U.S. missile defence shield in Eastern Europe.

NATO and Russia also disagree on just how much independence Kosovo should have.

And there is always Moscow's fear that more former Soviet republics will join the alliance.