Yevgeniy Maksimovich Primakov (October 29, 1929 – June 26, 2015) – Soviet and Russian politician and statesman, Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation (1998-1999), Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia (1996-1998), Head of the USSR Central Intelligence Service (1991), Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (1991-1996), Chairman of the Union Council of the USSR Supreme Soviet (1989-1990).
Economist, Orientalist-Arabist, Doctor of Economics (1969), Professor (1972), Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (1996). Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1979; Corresponding Member 1974). Laureate of the USSR State Award (1980) and the Russian State Award (2014). Member of the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences, member of the Presidium of the Council under the President of the Russian Federation for Science and Education, member of the Scientific Expert Council under the Chairman of the Council of the Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Russian Council for International Affairs.
President of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (2001-2011). President, Chairman of the Board of the “Mercury Club”; Head of the Center for Situational Analysis of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Member of the Central Committee of the CPSU (1989-1990; candidate member of the Central Committee in 1986-1989). Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation of the 3d convocation (2000-2001).
The name of E.M. Primakov is connected with the transition of Russia to the multi-faceted foreign policy. He advocated the development of Russia’s relations with the countries of Europe and North America, while retaining the right to conduct an independent foreign policy.
E.M. Primakov was the first to suggest consolidating mutual cooperation between Russia, India and China, which became the basis for the BRICS.
One of the most famous episodes associated with his name was the “U-turn over the Atlantic”: on March 24, 1999 E.M. Primakov was flying on an official visit to the United States; however, having learnt about NATO’s decision to bomb Yugoslavia, he ordered to turn the plane, which was already over the Atlantic Ocean, and returned to Moscow. This event went down in history as the beginning of the revival of Russian statehood and the first demonstration to the world that one cannot talk to Russia from a position of strength.