Sergei Ivanov

Sergei Borisovich Ivanov (Russian: Сергей Борисович Иванов, IPA: [sʲɪrˈɡʲej bɐˈrʲisəvʲɪtɕ ɪvɐˈnof]; born 31 January 1953) is a Russian senior official and politician who has been serving as the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation on the Issues of Environmental Activities, Ecology and Transport since 12 August 2016. He has the federal state civilian service rank of 1st class Active State Councillor of the Russian Federation.[1]

Sergei Ivanov
Сергей Иванов
Sergei Ivanov2016 (cropped).jpg
Ivanov in 2016
Special Representative of the President of Russia on the Issues of Environmental Activities, Ecology and Transport
Assumed office
12 August 2016
PresidentVladimir Putin
Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration
In office
22 December 2011 – 12 August 2016
PresidentDmitry Medvedev
Vladimir Putin
Preceded bySergey Naryshkin
Succeeded byAnton Vaino
First Deputy Prime Minister
In office
15 February 2007 – 7 May 2008
Serving with Dmitry Medvedev
Prime MinisterMikhail Fradkov
Viktor Zubkov
Preceded byDmitry Medvedev
Succeeded byViktor Zubkov
Minister of Defense
In office
28 March 2001 – 15 February 2007
Prime MinisterMikhail Kasyanov
Mikhail Fradkov
Preceded byIgor Sergeyev
Succeeded byAnatoly Serdyukov
Secretary of the Security Council
In office
15 November 1999 – 28 March 2001
PresidentBoris Yeltsin
Vladimir Putin
Preceded byVladimir Putin
Succeeded byVladimir Rushailo
Personal details
Born (1953-01-31) 31 January 1953 (age 70)
Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
(now Saint Petersburg, Russia)
SpouseNatalia Ivanova
Alma materSaint Petersburg State University
FSB Academy
Military service
Allegiance Soviet Union (1975-1991)
 Russia (1991-2000)
Foreign Intelligence Service
Federal Security Service
Years of service1975–2000
RankColonel General

Ivanov had held the posts of Minister of Defense of Russia from March 2001 to February 2007, of Deputy Prime Minister from November 2005 to February 2007, and of First Deputy Prime Minister from February 2007 to May 2008. After the election of Dmitry Medvedev as President of Russia, Ivanov was reappointed a Deputy Prime Minister (in office: 2008–2011) in Vladimir Putin's second cabinet. From December 2011 to August 2016, Ivanov worked as the Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office.[2] Having served in the Soviet KGB and in its successor, the Federal Security Service, he holds the rank of colonel general.

Before joining the federal administration in Moscow, Ivanov, served from the late 1991s in Europe and in Africa (Kenya) as a specialist in law and foreign languages. As an employee of the KGB in the Soviet-Union era, Ivanov became a friend of his colleague Vladimir Putin,[3] who appointed him as his Deputy in 1998. He belongs to the siloviki of Putin's inner circle.

Youth, education, and early careerEdit

Ivanov was born on 31 January 1953 in Leningrad. In 1975, he graduated from the English translation branch of the Department of Philology at Leningrad State University, where he majored in English and Swedish. In the late 1970s, Ivanov began a career spanning two decades on the staff of the external intelligence service. In 1976, he completed postgraduate studies in counterintelligence, graduating from Higher Courses of the KGB in Minsk.[citation needed]

Ivanov in the KGB, c. 1970

Upon graduating in 1976, Ivanov was sent to serve for the Leningrad and Leningrad Oblast KGB Directorate, where he became a friend of Vladimir Putin, then a colleague of his.[3][4][5] In 1981, he studied at the Red Banner Institute of KGB.

In the 1980s, Ivanov served as Second Secretary at the Soviet Embassy in Helsinki, working directly under the KGB resident Felix Karasev.[6]

After Finland, he was sent to Kenya as KGB resident.[4]

In 2015, Ivanov stated that his career in the KGB had been ruined and destroyed because of Oleg Gordievsky's defection and exfiltration on 19 July 1985 from Moscow through the northwestern part of the Soviet Union near Leningrad and then through Finland to the United Kingdom.[7] Gordievsky's defection greatly embarrassed both the KGB and the Soviet Union. As a result, the Leningrad directorate, which was responsible for surveillance of British subjects at the time, had numerous persons purged from its service by Viktor Babunov, the head of counterintelligence, including many people close to Vladimir Putin, who also served with the Leningrad KGB at the time.[8]

Career in MoscowEdit

In August 1998, Vladimir Putin became head of the FSB, and appointed Ivanov his deputy. As deputy director of the Federal Security Service, Ivanov solidified his reputation in Moscow as a competent analyst in matters of domestic and external security.[9]

Head of the Security CouncilEdit

On 15 November 1999, Boris Yeltsin appointed Ivanov as secretary of the Security Council of Russia, an advisory body charged with formulating presidential directives on national security. In that position, Ivanov replaced Putin as Yeltsin's national security adviser upon Putin's promotion to the premiership.

As secretary, Ivanov was responsible for coordinating the daily work of the council, led by the president. But Ivanov's role as secretary was initially unclear to media observers. At the time of his appointment, the Security Council was a relatively new institution. (The council was set up by Yeltsin's tutelage in 1991–1992).[10] Between 1992 and Ivanov's appointment in 1999, Yeltsin used the council as political expediency dictated but did not allow it to emerge as a relatively strong and autonomous institution.[10] According to Western analysts, Ivanov's predecessors in that post – including Putin – were either the second most powerful political figure in Russia or just another functionary lacking close access to the center of state power, depending on their relationship with Yeltsin.[10]

Minister of DefenseEdit

Ivanov was named by Vladimir Putin, who had succeeded Yeltsin as president on 31 December 1999, as Russia's Minister of Defense in March 2001. That month, Ivanov stepped down as secretary of the Security Council, but remained a member. Ivanov had resigned from military service around a year earlier, and was a civilian while serving as secretary of the Security Council. Ivanov therefore became Russia's first civilian Defense minister.[11] Putin called the personnel changes in Russia's security structures coinciding with Ivanov's appointment as Defense minister "a step toward demilitarizing public life." Putin also stressed Ivanov's responsibility for overseeing military reform as Defense minister.[12]

Unsurprisingly to specialists on Russia, Ivanov became bogged down in the sheer difficulty of his duties as Defense Minister. But, despite bureaucratic inertia and corruption in the military, Ivanov did preside over some changes in the form of a shift towards a more professional army. Although Ivanov was not successful in abandoning the draft, he did downsize it.[12]

Ivanov with U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at The Pentagon on 13 March 2002.

As Defense Minister, Ivanov worked with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to expand Russian-U.S. cooperation against international terrorist threats to both states.[13]

In May 2001, Ivanov was elected chairman of the Council of Commonwealth of Independent States Defense Ministers.

In October 2003, Ivanov claimed that Russia did not rule out a pre-emptive military strike anywhere in the world if the national interest demands it.[14]

In 2004, Ivanov, as Defense Minister, pledged state support to the suspects in Chechen leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev's assassination detained in Qatar and declared that their imprisonment was illegal.[15] Later, Qatari prosecutors concluded that the suspects had received the order to eliminate Zelimkhan Yandarbiev from Ivanov personally.[16]

Meeting between Sergei Ivanov and CCP general secretary Xi Jinping, March 2016

In January 2006, Ivanov received criticism for his downplaying response to the public outcry over a particularly brutal hazing incident at a military base in the Urals, which involved Andrey Sychyov as a victim, whose legs and genitals were amputated due to the vicious beatings and abuse.[12][17][18][19]

From time to time, Ivanov has disconcerted Western audiences with the bluntness of his remarks on international military and political issues, though his political orientation is moderate and generally liberal on economic issues. In a series of public comments on the 2003–2004 elections, for instance, he unequivocally stated his opposition to rolling back the Western-style economic reforms and privatizations of the 1990s.[12]

On 15 December 2006 in Moscow, Ivanov said to foreign correspondents about Alexander Litvinenko, poisoned in London in November, which made headlines in the West: "For us, Litvinenko was nothing. We didn't care what he said and what he wrote on his deathbed."[20][21]

Deputy Prime MinisterEdit

In November 2005, Ivanov was appointed to the post of Deputy Prime Minister in Mikhail Fradkov's Second Cabinet, with added responsibility for the Manufacturing industry and arms exports. On 15 February 2007, Putin relieved him of his duties as Defense Minister and elevated him to the position as First Deputy Prime Minister with responsibility over defense industry, aerospace industry, nanotechnology and transport[22] In June 2007, Ivanov was appointed chairman of the Government Council for Nanotechnology.[23]

2008 presidential electionEdit

Because of Putin's popularity with voters, opinion polls and Russian political analysts expected Putin's endorsement to help any preferred candidate in the 2008 Russian presidential election.[citation needed] Speculation intensified in November 2005 with Ivanov's promotion to the rank of Deputy Prime Minister.[12] The speculation further intensified in February 2007 with Ivanov's promotion to the post of First Deputy Prime Minister,[11] but rumours ceased after the United Russia party nominated Ivanov's colleague Dmitry Medvedev to run for the presidency - with Putin's backing. Ivanov expressed his support for Medvedev's candidacy as well.[24]

Russian opinion polls suggested that Ivanov enjoyed wide name-recognition among the Russian public with relatively strong approval ratings.[25][26]

Ivanov's career, in terms of his background and rise through Russia's state structures, was often[quantify] compared to Putin's, fueling speculation that Ivanov might run for president in 2008. Three months younger than Putin, Ivanov had been a student contemporary of Putin's in their hometown of Leningrad where both completed competitive specialized secondary-education programs (Putin in chemistry, Ivanov in English language) before attending Leningrad State University.[27] Both completed postgraduate studies in counterintelligence; and both joined the foreign intelligence service shortly afterward. However, according to Ivanov's recollections, he did not become acquainted with Putin during their time as students, but rather when both were assigned to work in the same foreign-intelligence division in Leningrad.[27]

Chief of StaffEdit

In December 2011, Ivanov was appointed Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration of Russia.[28] He was noted for his hawkish views during the Russo-Ukrainian War and towards the West and his major role in lobbying for the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War.[29]

On 12 August 2016, Ivanov was relieved from his Chief of Staff position by Putin and replaced by Anton Vaino. Ivanov then became a special envoy for transportation and the environment. Putin's firing of Ivanov was part of a series of replacements of Putin's older peers with young loyalists.[30] The Steele dossier (Report 2016/111) claims that his encouragement of meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election, which provoked unanticipated blowback against the Kremlin, was the catalyst for his firing.[31]

Personal lifeEdit

Ivanov married in 1976 and has two children.[citation needed] His son, Sergei Sergeevich Ivanov, is CEO of the Russian state-owned diamond mining company Alrosa and a board member of Gazprombank.[32] Sergei Sergeevich Ivanov was sanctioned by the U.S. in February 2022.[32]

He is fluent in English and Swedish as well as speaking Norwegian, and some French. His hobbies include fishing, and reading detective novels in the original English.[27] Ivanov supports CSKA Moscow, he can often be seen at PFC CSKA and PBC CSKA matches.[citation needed]

On 20 May 2005, a Volkswagen driven by Ivanov's eldest son, Alexander (1977–2014), struck and killed a 68-year-old woman, Svetlana Beridze, on a zebra crossing. Charges against him were, however, dropped.[33][34][35] Alexander Ivanov graduated with a degree in global economics from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. He was deputy chairman of Vnesheconombank. He had a daughter. Alexander Ivanov died on 3 November 2014; he drowned in the sea in United Arab Emirates.[36][37]


On 20 March 2014, the American Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced that Ivanov and 19 other Russian oligarchs had been added to the Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN).[38][39][40][41][42][43]

On 24 February 2022, the United States announced new sanctions against Ivanov and his son Sergey in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.[44][45]


  1. ^ "О присвоении классного чина государственной гражданской службы Российской Федерации Иванову С.Б.". Decree No. 1701 of 29 December 2011 (in Russian). President of Russia.
  2. ^ "Putin dismisses powerful chief of staff". News24. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b Иванов, Сергей — Руководитель администрации президента России [Ivanov, Sergey — Head of the Presidential Administration of Russia] (in Russian).
  4. ^ a b Biography Archived 20 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine by Vladimir Pribylovsky (in Russian).
  5. ^ Russia Profile – Who's Who?. Archived 11 May 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Heikki Hellman: Who remembers 2nd Secretary Ivanov?. 3 April 2007. (Archived 22 June 2007).
  7. ^ MacIntyre 2018, p. 329.
  8. ^ MacIntyre 2018, p. 103, 213, 317.
  9. ^ Makarkin, Aleksei; Sycheva, Valeria (16 November 1999). "Putin's Electoral Staff Opens Inside Ministry of Defense". Segodnya. P. 2 Russian Press Digest.
  10. ^ a b c "ISCIP - Perspective". Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  11. ^ a b Finn, Peter (15 February 2007). "Russian Leader Expands Powers of a Possible Successor". The Washington Post.
  12. ^ a b c d e "The Russia Index 2006–50 Key Players in Business and Politics" (PDF). p. 19. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 June 2006.
  13. ^ "The Avalon Project : Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy". Archived from the original on 1 April 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  14. ^ "Russia bares its military teeth". BBC News. 2 October 2003.
  15. ^ Sergei Ivanov has promised to strive for discharge of the Russian prisoners in Qatar. 3 March 2004 (in Russian). Archived 14 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Sergei Ivanov Tied to the Case of the Russians in Qatar by Mikhail Zygar. Kommersant, 13 April 2004.
  17. ^ Russian Soldier Brutally Hazed. Archived 29 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine. CBS News.
  18. ^ "Violent Bullying of Russian Conscripts Exposed". The Washington Post. 30 January 2006. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  19. ^ Hazing Trial Bares Dark Side of Russia's Military. The New York Times. 11 August 2006.
  20. ^ Poisoned Spy’s Wife Says He Feared Kremlin’s Long Reach by Alan Cowell. The New York Times. 17 December 2006.
  21. ^ Сергей Иванов рассказал о "дурной репутации" Литвиненко [Sergei Ivanov told about Litvinenko’s "bad reputation"] (in Russian). 16 December 2006
  22. ^ "Putin Promotes Sergei Ivanov to First Deputy Premier (Update3)". Bloomberg. 15 February 2007.
  23. ^ "Twelve who have Putin's ear". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 15 October 2007.
  24. ^ Ivanov had prior knowledge of Medvedev’s nomination. Archived 3 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ Ivanov Leads, Zubkov Negligible in Russia. Archived 8 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ Levada Center poll: 2008 elections. Archived 30 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine. (in Russian).
  27. ^ a b c "Russia Profile - Resources|Who's Who|Sergei Borisovich Ivavnov". Archived from the original on 11 May 2006. Retrieved 25 May 2006.
  28. ^ Andrew E. Kramer (28 December 2011). "Political Promotions in Russia Appear to Belie President's Promise of Reform". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  29. ^ "The urge to purge? Vladimir Putin's powerful right-hand man steps down". The Economist. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2016.
  30. ^ Macfarquhar, Neil (12 August 2016). "Putin Dismisses Sergei Ivanov, a Longtime Ally, as Chief of Staff". The New York Times.
  31. ^ "The Steele Dossier | Company Intelligence Report 2016/111: Russia/US: Kremlin Fallout from Media Exposure of Moscow's Interference in the US Presidential Campaign". Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  32. ^ a b "Here are the Russian oligarchs targeted in Biden's sanctions". NBC News. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
  33. ^ Russian motorists enraged by elite's flashing blue lights by Adrian Blomfield. The Daily Telegraph. 13 February 2006.
  34. ^ The St. Petersburg Times. 25 November 2005.[dead link]
  35. ^ Sergei Ivanov. Biography by Vladimir Pribylovsky (in Russian). Archived 20 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ Сын Сергея Иванова погиб в ОАЭ [Son of Sergei Ivanov died in the UAE] (in Russian). RBK Group. 5 November 2014.
  37. ^ "Son Of Putin's Chief Of Staff Dies At 37". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. 5 November 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  38. ^ "Treasury Sanctions Russian Officials, Members Of The Russian Leadership's Inner Circle, And An Entity For Involvement In The Situation In Ukraine". US Department of the treasury.
  39. ^ "Executive Order - Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine". The White House - Office of the Press Secretary. 20 March 2014.
  40. ^ "Ukraine-related Designations". Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  41. ^ "Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN)". Retrieved 4 April 2016.
  42. ^ Shuklin, Peter (21 March 2014). "Putin's inner circle: who got in a new list of US sanctions". Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  43. ^ President of The United States (19 March 2016). "Ukraine EO13661" (PDF). Federal Register. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  44. ^ "FACT SHEET: Joined by Allies and Partners, the United States Imposes Devastating Costs on Russia". The White House. 24 February 2022. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  45. ^ "Russia-related Designations; Belarus Designations; Issuance of Russia-related Directive 2 and 3; Issuance of Russia-related and Belarus General Licenses; Publication of new and updated Frequently Asked Questions". U.S. Department of the Treasury. Retrieved 6 March 2022.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Secretary of the Security Council
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Defense
Succeeded by
Preceded by First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia
Served alongside: Dmitry Medvedev
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration
Succeeded by