Moscow Continues to Train Diplomats from Many Post-Soviet Countries

April 21, 2015
Yevgeny Bazhanov. Photo via Vestnik Kavkaza

Staunton, April 20 — Following the disintegration of the USSR, most of the successor states set up their own institutions to train diplomats, but even those who have such institutions, including some impressive ones, continue to send some of their people to be trained at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On the one hand, this is yet another example of simple inertia in such things; but on the other, it raises questions about links between Moscow and those non-Russian diplomats and others who have been trained in Russian institutions as explicitly political as is the Moscow Diplomatic Academy.

However that may be, Yevgeny Bazhanov, the rector of the Moscow institution, provides an unusual glimpse into his academy’s involvement with students from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, each of which has its own diplomatic training center.

Since 1996, Bazhanov told Vesti Kavkaza, Moscow has provided full scholarships to 15 diplomats from each of the three South Caucasus countries. Since 2008, Georgia has not sent anyone to study at the Moscow Diplomatic Academy, but Armenia and Azerbaijan continue to send 15 each every year.

Over the last 19 years, the rector said, his institute has trained between 400 and 500 diplomats from the South Caucasus, “a large number,” he continued, “because a diplomat is a rare profession.” Many of the Moscow academy’s graduates now “occupy high posts” in the foreign ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as “in other state structures.”

The Moscow academy also exchanges faculty with the academies in Yerevan and Baku and organizes various kinds of conferences. In addition, some students come to Moscow paying their own way, and others are sent for short courses to be retrained or to increase their qualifications, Bazhanov continued.

He said that his institution keeps in touch with graduates from these and other countries with a journal called “Alma Mater,” adding that this “beautiful and interesting” publication is distributed to the leadership of the Russian ministry of foreign affairs and other government structures.”