Yevgeni Primakov
Russia's Premier Arab Orientalist


Evgenii Primakov
Source:
Lyudi

NamePrimakov, Yevgeni Maksimovich (1929-present)
Also Known AsEvgenii
KGB code name: Maxim (Maksim)
BiographyYevgeni Primakov was born and raised in Tblisi, Georgia.
Primakov speaks Georgian, Russian, Arabic and English. He graduated from Moscow's Institute of Oriental Studies in 1953 and went on to postgraduate studies at Moscow University. Primakov studied with (later KGB General) Oleg Kalugin at the State Radio Committee's offices in Moscow in the winter of 1959-1960, learning journalism.1 In 1956, Primakov became a correspondent in the Middle East for the State Committee for Television and Radio. He had close relations with the KGB foreign intelligence administration since at least 1959.1 Kalugin, Spymaster, 1994, p34.
Primakov was Middle East correspondent for Pravda in the 1960s-1970 (or later).2 His KGB code name during this time was Maxim.2Smolanksy, The USSR and Iraq, 1991, pp69,73-74.
1970-1979Deputy director of the Institute for World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO) within the Central Committee's International Department. He returned as Director in 1985.
1979-1985Headed Institute of Oriental Studies.
'First deputy chairman' of the KGB foreign propaganda front organisation the Soviet Peace Committee.
3 Sakwa, Russian Politics and Society, 1996.
4 References to this point, unless otherwise specified, are from KNI96:115-117.
5 Knight, Spies Without Cloaks, 1996, pp30,36.
6 Knight, op cit, p196.
Kalugin, op cit, pp182-183.
7 SBS World Guide 5th Edn, 1996, p569.
1990-1991Gorbachev's envoy to Baghdad during the Gulf War.3 Primakov was supervising Soviet policy towards Azerbaijan in January 1990, when Soviet troops suppressed the independence movement in Baku.4 He was appointed head of the First Chief Directorate (FCD, later renamed Foreign Intelligence Service, FIS) in 1991 by Bakatin, after Shebarshin's resignation.5 As head of FIS, Primakov has been very reluctant to relinquish any KGB secrets,6 and very keen to distance himself, and the FIS, from their respective origins.
In 1996, Boris Yeltsin appointed Primakov Foreign Minister,7 and he later became Russia's Prime Minister. As Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Primakov sought to return Russian Foreign Policy to its pre-1991 orientation.
During the lead up to the 2003 Iraq War, Primakov made a diplomatic visit to Iraq where he met with Saddam Hussein in an attempt to avert the war.
Bibliography
  • Major General Oleg Kalugin with Fen Montaigne, Spymaster: My 32 Years in Intelligence and Espionage Against the West, Smith Gryphon Limited, London, 1994.
  • Amy Knight, Spies Without Cloaks: the KGB's Successors, Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1996.
  • Richard Sakwa, Russian Politics and Society, second edition, Routledge, London, 1996.
  • The SBS World Guide 5th Edition, Reed International Books, Port Melbourne, 1996.
  • Oles M. and Bettie M. Smolanksy, The USSR and Iraq: The Soviet Quest for Influence, Duke University Press, Durham (USA), 1991.
  • See AlsoBoris Yeltsin, Mikhail Gorbachev




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