Vitaly Churkin

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Vitaly Churkin
2012-02-22 Виталий Чуркин.jpg
Ambassador to the United Nations
Assumed office
1 May 2006
President Vladimir Putin
Dmitry Medvedev
Vladimir Putin
Preceded by Andrey Denisov
Ambassador to Belgium
In office
3 October 1994 – 25 February 1998
President Boris Yeltsin
Preceded by Sergey Kislyak
Succeeded by Nikolay Afanasevsky
Personal details
Born Vitaly Ivanovich Churkin
Виталий Иванович Чуркин

(1952-02-21) 21 February 1952 (age 63)
Moscow, Soviet Union
(now Russia)
Alma mater Moscow State Institute of International Relations
Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union

Vitaly Ivanovich Churkin (Russian: Виталий Иванович Чуркин; born February 21, 1952) is a Russian diplomat who has served as Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations since 2006. Previously he was Ambassador to Belgium from 1994 to 1998 and Ambassador to Canada from 1998 to 2003.


Vitaly Churkin as Kolya Yemelyanov and Mikhail Kuznetsov as Vladmir Lenin in the 1964 Soviet movie Sinyaya Tetrad (other languages)

Churkin was born in Moscow. At the age of 11 he played Kolya Yemelyanov in the Lev Kulidzhanov movie Sinyaya Tetrad (other languages) about Vladimir Lenin. In a year he played in a movie Nol tri about paramedics. In 1967 he played peasant boy Fedka in Mark Donskoy's movie A Mother's Heart, also about Vladimir Lenin. He stopped his artistic career to concentrate on English language studies.[1]

He graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1974, and began working for them then, and he received a PhD in history from the USSR Diplomatic Academy in 1981. Subsequently he was Director of the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union and the Russian Federation. He also served as a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, and he was Deputy Foreign Minister from 1992 to 1994.

Churkin was Russia's Ambassador to Belgium from 1994 to 1998 and Ambassador to Canada from 1998 to 2003. Subsequently he served as Ambassador-at-Large at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2006. He replaced Andrey Denisov as Permanent Representative to the United Nations on 1 May 2006, when he presented his credentials to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan.

He has also been the chairman of the Senior Officials of the Arctic Council. He is fluent in Russian, Mongolian, French and English.

Chernobyl testimony[edit]

Churkin won some notoriety in 1986 when, as a 34-year-old second secretary, he was selected by Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin to testify before the United States Congress on the Chernobyl nuclear power station accident.[2] This was reported as the first time in history a Soviet official testified before a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.[3] The choice of Churkin, then a relatively junior diplomat, was due to his reputation as the most fluent English-speaker in the Soviet Embassy; media reported he possessed "an array of English slang."[3] Churkin's performance led to his being parodied in a Washington Post political cartoon series, Mark Alan Stamaty's "Washingtoon", as Vitaly "Charmyourpantsoff".

Actions as a UN representative[edit]


In 2008 during the Russo-Georgian War Churkin proposed a draft resolution imposing weapons embargo on Georgia. The draft was criticized by the United States' who saw it as "as a ploy to divert attention from the fact Moscow had yet to pull out of Georgian territory outside two breakaway regions". According to Churkin the real reasons behind the objections was that the USA wanted to "modernize Georgia's military and backs Tbilisi's aspirations to join the NATO military alliance".[4] The draft was officially introduced on 9 September 2009. No actions were taken on this draft.[5]

In response to the ongoing conflict between Georgia and its breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Churkin said that the Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili should check in into a nearby professional psychiatric clinic.[6]


On March 13, 2014 Churkin was questioned by Arseniy Yatsenyuk on whether Crimea had a right to hold a referendum which would determine Crimea's status as a part of either Russia or Ukraine.[7]

On March 20, 2014 amid tension rising in Crimea he responded to the CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour's attack on him and his daughter, a Russia Today journalist Anastasia Churkina:[8][9]

I am taken aback by the personal attacks you resorted to in your show on March 20. I have known you for many years (including through a number of on-the-air interviews) and used to respect you professionally. So it was somewhat startling that my inability to give another interview provoked such an outburst.


On June 25, 2014 he commented on the first round of talks regarding Iranian nuclear program saying that the talks between the 6 European Union nations and Iran were successful. The talks were held by him and 6 other diplomats in Vienna from June 16 to June 20 and that the second round will begin on July 2 and end 13 days later.[10]


On June 12, 2014 he briefed on the crisis in Baghdad, Iraq saying that there was no threat to his colleague Nikolay Mladenov, who is the head of the UN's political mission in that country. He also noted that the violence there erupts further north.[11]

Srebrenica massacre[edit]

During the Yugoslav Wars the Srebrenica massacre became the most infamous systematic killing of a religious group on European soil since the Holocaust. In one week, at least 7,475 Muslim men, women and children were killed by Serbian troops.[12] It was later found to be an act of genocide by the International Court of Justice.[13] The UK sponsored a resolution which would condemn the genocide and commemorate the 20th anniversary of the massacre. The Russian Federation was the only country that was against the resolution: Churkin issued a veto on his country's behalf at the UN Security Council on the 8 July 2015.[14] Numerous countries condemned Russia's negative vote at the UN. US representative Samantha Power compared deniers of genocide at Srebrenica to Holocaust deniers and said: "So long as the truth is denied, there can be no meaningful reconciliation."[15] Amnesty International condemned the negative vote as well.[16]

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17[edit]

On June 22, 2014 he called the allegations of Russian involvement in the Boeing 777 crash false saying that the audio recording of commando communications were mixed of various conversations which includes one before a crash.[17]

Career timeline[edit]

  • 1974 – Graduated from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations
  • 1974 – Joined the USSR Foreign Ministry
  • 1974-79 – Staff member of the USSR delegation to the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
  • 1979-82 – Third secretary, US desk, USSR Foreign Ministry
  • 1981 – PhD in history from the USSR Diplomatic Academy
  • 1982-87 – Second, first secretary, USSR Embassy in Washington DC
  • 1985 – Undertook a speaking tour of United States universities invited by USGov
  • 1987-89 – Staff member, International Department, CPSU Central Committee
  • 1989-90 – Special adviser to the USSR Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • 1990-91 – Director, Information Department, Spokesman of the USSR Foreign Ministry
  • 1992-94 – Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation to the talks on Former Yugoslavia
  • 1994-98Ambassador of Russia to Belgium, Liaison Ambassador to NATO and WEU
  • 1998-2003Ambassador of Russia to Canada
  • 2003 - April 2006Ambassador-at-Large, MFA, Chairman of Senior Arctic Officials, Arctic Council, Senior Official of Russia at the Barents/Euro-Arctic Council
  • April 8, 2006Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations, Representative of the Russian Federation at the UN Security Council Diplomatic rank — Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (1990)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roldugin, Oleg (April 14, 2014). "Наш актер в ООН. Тайны биографии постпреда России Виталия Чуркина". Sobesednik. 
  2. ^ Greenwald, John (May 12, 1986). "Deadly Meltdown". Time. Archived from the original on June 26, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Weisskopf, Michael (May 2, 1986). "Soviet Testifies on Capitol Hill, Thrust-and-Parry Reveals Few New Details of Accident". The Washington Post. 
  4. ^ Louis Charbonneau (September 9, 2008). "Russia wants arms embargo on Georgia, U.S. sees ploy". Reuters. Archived from the original on September 2, 2013. Retrieved July 5, 2014. 
  5. ^ United Nations (2009). Report of the Security Council (1 August 2008-31 July 2009), Issue 2. p. 39. ISBN 9789218201409. 
  6. ^ "Russian Envoy Says Saakashvili Needs Mental Health Check". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. September 26, 2013. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Ukraine crisis: Russia tells UN it does not want war". BBC News Online. March 13, 2014. Archived from the original on April 9, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Russia's UN envoy Churkin replies to CNN anchor Amanpour". RT. March 21, 2014. Archived from the original on June 5, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Дочь постпреда в ООН Виталия Чуркина оказалась в центре международного скандала". Moskovsky Komsomolets. Archived from the original on March 22, 2014. 
  10. ^ "5+1 and Iran to hold talks in Vienna". Voice of Russia. June 26, 2014. Archived from the original on June 26, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  11. ^ "UN Official Sees No Immediate Threat to Baghdad". Voice of America. June 12, 2014. Archived from the original on June 26, 2014. Retrieved June 26, 2014. 
  12. ^ Helge Brunborg, Torkild Hovde Lyngstad and Henrik Urdal. "Accounting for Genocide: How Many Were Killed in Srebrenica?". European Journal of Population 19 (3). doi:10.1023/A:1024949307841. JSTOR 20164231. 
  13. ^ Antonio Cassese. "The Nicaragua and Tadić Tests Revisited in Light of the ICJ Judgment on Genocide in Bosnia". European Journal of International Law 18 (4). doi:10.1093/ejil/chm034. 
  14. ^ "UN officials recall 'horror' of Srebrenica as Security Council fails to adopt measure condemning massacre". UN News Centre. 8 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "At Meeting Commemorating Twentieth Anniversary of Srebrenica Killings, Security Council Fails to Adopt Resolution". 8 July 2015. 
  16. ^ "Srebrenica: UN Failure to Pass Resolution an Insult to the Memory of the Dead". Amnesty International. 8 July 2015. 
  17. ^ "Чуркин назвал фальшивыми доказательства причастности России к крушению Boeing 777" [Churkin called the evidence which links Russia to the crash of the Boeing 777 as false]. July 22, 2014. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Andrey Denisov
Permanent Representative of Russia to the United Nations
Succeeded by