Evgeny Lukyanov to become next Russian ambassador

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Russian diplomats have confirmed that Evgeny Lukyanov, deputy secretary at the Russian Security Council, will succeed Alexander Veshnyakov as the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Latvia, reported LTV7 on December 8.

While the Latvian Foreign Affairs Ministry has not received official confirmation of the fact, Veshnyakov confirmed that he'll be succeeded by Lukyanov.

Veshnyakov says that he could be leaving Rīga as soon as in late December. 

Lukyanov is not a well-known official. His official biography says he worked at the USSR's diplomatic structures in the late 80s, however there's no mention as to what country he was stationed in and what responsibilities he bore.

In the 90s Lukyanov worked in the banking sector and later took a post in the administration of the Northwestern Federal District bordering the Baltics. For the last six years he has been working as deputy secretary at the Russian Security Council.

While he rarely appears in interviews, he is known for his harsh and provocative tone. For example, he has promised that Russia will answer every NATO activity aimed to strengthen the bloc, and that in case of conflict between Russia and the US, Poland and Romania could be among Russia's targets.

Political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky pointed out Lukyanov's past. While it's not mentioned in his official biography, Lukyanov is a former KGB employee; but it's his banking knowledge that will be more useful in his new post.

"I think that these skills will be in great demand at the post of Russian Ambassador in Latvia, as Russia continues to be very interested in Latvia's banking system as a way of laundering and saving a particular type of income," said Belkovsky.

Lukyanov's current place of employment, the Russian Security Council, is a consultative body that often conducts meetings headed by the Russian president. The council is made up by heads of power structures, ministers, and government leaders.

Alexander Veshnyakov has served as the Russian Ambassador to Latvia since 2008 and previously worked at Russia's Central Election Commission.

Veshnyakov is the longest-serving Russian Ambassador, according to rus.lsm.lv, as his predecessors have served four to five years at most.

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