The chain-smoking, battle-hardened diplomat is proving every
bit as formidable as the long-serving Soviet stalwart Andrei
Gromyko as Moscow holds out against a U.S.-led push for new
sanctions on Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad.
Lavrov is the cause of much hand-wringing and frustration in
the West, where his country’s policies are seen as an obstacle
to ending the bloodshed in Syria.
But he has won plaudits in Russia for his stubborn defence
of Moscow’s position. For hawkish President Vladimir Putin, back
in the Kremlin after a four-year absence, he is the right person
in the right place at the right time.