Victoria Nuland

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Victoria Nuland
Victoria Nuland State Department.jpg
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
Assumed office
September 18, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Philip Gordon
Spokesperson for the United States Department of State
In office
May 31, 2011 – February 11, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Philip J. Crowley
Succeeded by Jennifer Psaki
18th United States Permanent Representative to NATO
In office
June 20, 2005 – May 2, 2008
President George W. Bush
Preceded by R. Nicholas Burns
Succeeded by Kurt Volker
Personal details
Born Victoria Jane Nuland
Spouse(s) Robert Kagan
Alma mater Brown University (1983)
Profession Diplomat
Nuland meeting with Georgian defense ministry leadership, December 6, 2013
John Kerry and Victoria Nuland with Ukrainian opposition leaders Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk and Klitschko, Munich, February 1, 2014
US officials Assistant Secretary Nuland and Ambassador to Ukraine Pyatt greet Petro Poroshenko in Warsaw on June 4, 2014

Victoria Jane Nuland (born 1961) is the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs at the United States Department of State.[1]

Education and personal life[edit]

Victoria Nuland graduated with a B.A. in 1983 from Brown University, where she studied Russian literature, political science, and history.[2] Nuland’s husband is Robert Kagan, an American historian and foreign-policy commentator at the Brookings Institution.


During the Bill Clinton administration, Nuland was chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott before moving on to serve as deputy director for former Soviet Union affairs.

She served as the principal deputy foreign policy adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and then as U.S. ambassador to NATO.

Nuland became special envoy for Conventional Armed Forces in Europe and then became State Department spokesperson in summer 2011.[3]

She was nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in May 2013 and sworn in to fill that role in September 2013.[4] During her confirmation hearings, she faced "sharp questions" about a memo she had sent outlining the talking points that would be used by the Obama administration in the days shortly after the 2012 Benghazi attack.[5]

Leaked phone conversation[edit]

On February 4, 2014, a recording of a phone call between Nuland and U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, on January 28, 2014 was published on YouTube.[6][7] The State Department and the White House suggested that an assistant to the deputy prime minister of Russia Dmitry Rogozin was the source of the leak, which he denied.[8][9][10]

In the recording, Nuland makes an obscene reference to the European Union.[11] After discussing Ukrainian opposition figures Nuland states that she prefers the United Nations as mediator, instead of the European Union, adding "Fuck the EU," and Pyatt responds, "Oh, exactly ...."[7][12]

According to the Washington Post,

[Nuland] was dismissively referring to slow-moving European efforts to address political paralysis and a looming fiscal crisis in Ukraine. But it was the blunt nature of her remarks, rather than U.S. diplomatic calculations, that seemed exceptional.
Nuland also assessed the political skills of Ukrainian opposition figures with unusual candor and, along with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, debated strategy for their cause, laying bare a deep degree of U.S. involvement in affairs that Washington officially says are Ukraine’s to resolve.

"She has been in contact with her EU counterparts, and of course has apologized," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who also acknowledged the authenticity of the recording.[13][14]

Initially, a spokeswoman for EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton stated on the same day that the EU would not comment on a "leaked alleged" conversation.[11] The next day, however, Christiane Wirtz, Deputy Government Spokesperson and Deputy Head of the Press and Information Office of the German Federal Government, stated that German Chancellor Angela Merkel termed Nuland's remark "absolutely unacceptable."[15] The president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, condemned the remark as "unacceptable."[16]

In their phone conversation, Nuland and Pyatt discussed who should be in the government after Viktor Yanukovych's ouster, with the name of Arseniy Yatseniuk (whom Nuland refers to as "Yats") coming up several times.[7][8] "Yats" became prime minister of Ukraine on February 27, 2014.[17]


  1. ^ "Bureau of Public Affairs Front Office Changes". 
  2. ^ Schwartzapfel, Beth (April 2013). "ALUMS IN THE STATE DEPT: No Praying from the Podium". Brown Alumni Magazine. 
  3. ^ "Victoria Nuland to be State Department spokesman". Foreign Policy. May 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Obama nominates Nuland for assistant secretary of state". Politico. May 23, 2013. [1].
  5. ^ "Nominee Nuland Takes Heat Over Benghazi at Hearing - Washington Wire - WSJ". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  6. ^ Re Post (February 4, 2014). "Марионетки Майдана" [The Marionettes of Maidan]. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "Ukraine crisis: Transcript of leaked Nuland-Pyatt call", BBC News, February 7, 2014, retrieved October 9, 2014 
  8. ^ a b Chiacu, Doina; Mohammed, Arshad (Feb 6, 2014). "Leaked audio reveals embarrassing U.S. exchange on Ukraine, EU". Reuters. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  9. ^ "BBC News - Victoria Nuland: Leaked phone call 'impressive tradecraft'". BBC Online. February 7, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  10. ^ Ed Pilkington, Luke Harding and agencies (February 7, 2014). "Angela Merkel: Victoria Nuland's remarks on EU are unacceptable". Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b Leaked audio reveals embarrassing US exchange on Ukraine, EU, Reuters (February 6, 2014)
  12. ^ Atlas, Terry; Gaouette, Nicole (February 6, 2013). "Intercepted Phone Call Shows U.S. Role in Ukraine". Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Gearan, Anne. In recording of U.S. diplomat, blunt talk on Ukraine, Washington Post, February 6, 2014.
  14. ^ "Top US diplomat for Europe caught swearing about EU". Express Tribune. AFP. February 7, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014. 
  15. ^ Angela Merkel: Victoria Nuland's remarks on EU are unacceptable, The Guardian (February 7, 2014)
  16. ^ Kauffmann, Sylvie (February 9, 2014), "Les cinq leçons du " fuck the EU ! " d'une diplomate américaine" [The five lessons of "fuck the EU" from an American diplomat], Le Monde, retrieved February 9, 2014 
  17. ^ "Ukraine's Arseniy Yatsenyuk warns of tough days ahead". BBC News. February 26, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
R. Nicholas Burns
U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO
Succeeded by
Kurt Volker
Government offices
Preceded by
Philip Gordon
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
September 18, 2013– incumbent
Succeeded by