Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Rogozin Would Make an Excellent President

President Dmitry Medvedev, in a signal that he views missile defense talks with NATO as his top foreign policy priority, appointed Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s representative to NATO, as his special envoy for missile defense.

The president chose wisely. Rogozin is the right man for the job.

I know this from personal experience. I spent 2002 working as Rogozin’s senior adviser when he was appointed by then-President Vladimir Putin as his representative for talks with the European Union on the issue of visa-free transit for Russian citizens in Kaliningrad to travel to the rest of Russia.

In May 2003, Lithuania and Poland, as part of their plans to join the EU, required Russian citizens to acquire visas to travel to and from Kaliningrad to Russia. Our job was to negotiate a travel regime that would eschew visas for Russian nationals traveling from one part of Russia to another through EU territory.

At the time, it was a mission impossible.

Rogozin’s appointment was met with skepticism both in the EU and in Moscow. After all, how could this hard-line nationalist with a penchant for undiplomatic language negotiate with the democratic EU states on a sensitive and complex issue like the EU visa regime?

For all his political flamboyance, Rogozin proved to be a skillful negotiator, driving a hard bargain when needed. He was pragmatic and willing to accommodate the other side’s legitimate concerns without ceding ground on the core issue: the right of Russians to travel to Kaliningrad without visas.

He showed an ability to seize on big ideas when we proposed that Putin call for a visa-free travel for Russian citizens to the EU. I am happy to see our visa-free initiative, originally a bargaining chip in talks on Kaliningrad, take a life of its own and become one of the pillars of the country’s foreign policy.

The result was a big win for Russia and Rogozin. All it takes now for a Russian to travel to Kaliningrad from other parts of the country is to purchase a railway ticket.

Rogozin is credible presidential material, a natural leader who derives his energy from engaging with people. But his time may not come before 2018.

For now he will concentrate on his next mission impossible: getting NATO and the United States to give Russia a say in how their missile defenses would operate.

This will keep Rogozin safely out of Russian politics in 2011 and 2012.

Vladimir Frolov is president of LEFF Group, a government-relations and PR company.

The views expressed in opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the position of The Moscow Times.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more