Mikhail Yuryevich Zurabov (Russian: Михаил Юрьевич Зурабов, pronounced [mʲɪxɐˈil zʊˈrabəf]) is a Russian politician. He is the current ambassador of Russia to Ukraine and former Minister of Health and Social Development (in Mikhail Fradkov's first and second cabinets. He held the post of Minister of Health and Social Development from 9 March 2004 to 24 September 2007.
On 13 August 2009 Zurabov was appointed ambassador of Russia to Ukraine, replacing former prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin in that role. However on 11 August 2009 Russian President Medvedev postponed the sending of a new Russian ambassador to Ukraine "in view of the anti-Russian position of the current Ukrainian authorities". Zurabov presented his diplomatic credentials to (newly elected) Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych on 2 March 2010.
Zurabov was born on 3 October 1953. He completed his undergraduate degree at the State University of Management in Moscow, and his masters degree at the All Union Scientific Research Institute for System Research. He held the position of Chairman of the Russian Pension Fund Administration from 1999 to 2004.
In early 2005, Zurabov, German Gref, and Alexei Kudrin all came under fire for reforms to benefits for the elderly that they suggested and the State Duma had approved in 2004. Many of the reforms had to do with replacing free government-funded benefits, such as medical care and transportation, with cash payments. This replacement angered many of the elderly because transportation costs are increasing. Protests took place all over Russia, but neither the presidential administration nor the State Duma responded to these protests in any substantial way. The President reprimanded Kudrin on national television, and a few members of the State Duma went on a hunger strike for a short period of time. A no-confidence vote against Fradkov's cabinet was called by the State Duma in early February, but it failed. Some analysts saw the whole affair as an attempt to either discredit or perhaps get rid of one of the three men by other members of the cabinet.[who?]
For a while it was believed that Zurabov, specifically, was being set up to take the fall for the failure of the Pension Reform that Fradkov's second cabinet instituted in early 2005. However, Zurabov retained his post, and continued to serve as the Minister of Health and Social Development until he was dismissed in 2007.
Relations with Ukraine
In an interview with Izvestiya v Ukraine in June 2010 Zurabov, as an ambassador to Ukraine, asserted that Russians and Ukrainians are a single nation with "some nuances, peculiarities, but a single nation". Zurabov allowed himself to announce the Ukrainian anthem "Ukraine has not perished" as a Russian folk song that was to be performed by the Cossack choir during the Russian Independence day on 8 June 2012. The Ukrainian officials that were invited, however, continued to munch on their food without expressing any protests.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mikhail Yuryevich Zurabov.|
- Ukraine president vows not to give up Crimea, The Guardian (7 June 2014)
Ukraine's Poroshenko sworn in and sets out peace plan, BBC News (7 June 2014)
Excerpts from Poroshenko's speech, BBC News (7 June 2014)
Ukraine’s President Poroshenko pushes for peace at inauguration, Euronews (7 June 2014)
Poroshenko offers escape for rebels but no compromise over weapons, Euronews (7 June 2014)
(Ukrainian) Speech by President of Ukraine during the inauguration ceremony. Full text, Ukrayinska Pravda (7 June 2014)
- Dmitry Medvedev signed the Executive Order appointing Mikhail Zurabov Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Ukraine, Kremlin.ru (13 August 2009)
- Address to the President of Ukraine Victor Yushchenko, Kremlin.ru (11 August 2009)
- Russian ambassador to Ukraine presents credentials to Yanukovych, RIA Novosti (2 March 2010)
- Yanukovych: Ukraine will do whatever it takes to restore relations with Russia, Kyiv Post (2 March 2010)
- Russian Ambassador Zurabov presents credentials to President Yanukovych, Kyiv Post (2 March 2010)
- Zurabov asserts that Russians and Ukrainians are single nation, unian.net (15 June 2010)
- (video) Сергей Соболев: «Как посол России «опустил» Украину?» (Serhiy Sobolev: How the ambassador of Russia dishonored Ukraine) Glavkom.tv 8 June 2012
- The Russian ambassador called the Ukrainian anthem a Russian folk song Rupor.info 8 June 2012