nCa News and Commentary
Ashgabat, 9 June 2011 (nCa) — Alexander Blokhin, the new Russian ambassador to Turkmenistan, presented credentials Wednesday to President Berdymuhamedov.
Blokhin said that it was an honour to represent Russia in Turkmenistan, adding that he will spare no efforts for further development of bilateral dialogue based on the traditions of friendship and fraternity.
The Turkmen president assured him of full cooperation and mentioned that there was huge potential to significantly expand the range of mutual interaction and define new directions of partnership.
Blokhin said that Russia was interested in development of strategic and constructive cooperation with Turkmenistan based on the rich historical experience, in the best interests of the people of both the c ountries.
Biography of Blokhin
Alexander Viktorovich Blokhin was born on 12 January 1951 in Ivanovo, an industrial town near Moscow.
Blokhin graduated from the Ivanovo Power Institute in 1974, and for the next three years worked in various capacities at Fizpribor in Kirov. From 1977–1978, Blokhin was attached to the USSR Ministry of Defence.
After a brief stint in Mongolia for the ministry of defence, he returned to the engineering profession. He completed his postgraduate studies from the Ivanovo power engineering institute in 1983 and subsequently worked up to 1990 as chief engineer at the Shelkov bio-industrial complex in Moscow region.
In 1990, Blokhin was elected a member of the Supreme Soviet of Russia, and served until its dissolution in 1993. During this period he was also head of the parliamentary committee on the work of parliament members and self governance.
Blokhin joined the foreign service of Russia in 1992 as director of department, advisor to the minister, and special envoy.
From 25 June 1995 to 6 January 2000, he served as ambassador of Russia to Azerbaijan.
From 6 January to 17 October 2001, he was acting minister and minister for Federation affairs, migration and nationalities in the cabinet of Prime Minister Kasyanov. He relinquished the job when the ministry was abolished in October 2001.
From 26 July 2002 to 14 July 2005, he was ambassador of Russia to Belarus.
From 10 November 2005 to 29 July 2010, he was ambassador of Russia to Australia, concurrently accredited to Fiji, Vanuatu and Nauru.
He was appointed as Russian ambassador to Turkmenistan on 5 May 2011, and presented credentials to President Berdymuhamedov on 8 June 2011.
He holds the rank of ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary since 29 October 1996.
Ambassador Blokhin speaks Russian and English. He is married, and has a daughter. He is a recipient of several medals and honours.
Ambassador Blokhin is a heavyweight, a stalwart of the Russian foreign service. There are not many Russian diplomats on their fourth ambassadorial tenure.
Even though the Russian foreign service, on the whole, is not internally politicized, it is still no mean feat to remain on excellent terms with the changing leadership at Kremlin. Blokhin was close toYeltsin, served as federal minister in Kasyanov cabinet, was sent as ambassador by Putin to Australia and has been appointed to Ashgabat by Medvedev.
His success is partly connected to the fact that he started life as an ordinary worker and served nearly a full career as a professional engineer before entering the foreign service.
There are not many like Blokhin among the Russian diplomats and when he was appointed as envoy to Australia, there was appreciative murmur in the Australian top circles that such a high ranking and seasoned diplomat had been sent to represent Russia.
Sending Blokhin to Ashgabat is a decision of great significance and far reaching considerations:
- The pace and direction of regional geopolitics has forced Kremlin to REDISCOVER Turkmenistan.
- The situation in Afghanistan needs to be watched carefully as internal and external jostling is becoming complex by the hour.
- There is no telling what will happen after July 2011, when Obama starts pulling back some of the troops he introduced during the surge last year.
- Some pockets of vacuum are likely to emerge soon in Afghanistan and Russia may want to be in a position to fill that vacuum.
- Intra regional and inter regional transport and transit corridors are taking shape fast and Russia will not like to be left behind.
- Europe is on the verge of finding a way to get massive volumes of Central Asian gas bypassing Russia.
Obviously, these are just some of the considerations that come to mind. There may be a lot more to it than that.
Another aspect, centered on Turkmenistan and panning out in all directions is that the regional economies are growing at a healthy pace and the buying power of the population is increasing visibly.
Ambassador Blokhin is famously suited for promoting Russian commercial interests and his arrival may signal the desire of Russia to capture – or, more aptly, recapture – a segment of the growing market.
When in Australia, Blokhin launched the Russian Standard Vodka in a high profile, star studded ceremony in 2009. We hear that, thanks mostly to Blokhin’s skilful marketing campaign, Russian vodka has carved a sizeable portion in the Australian market.
A man of Blokhin’s caliber would certainly repair the damage caused by his predecessor.