Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree to appoint Dmitry Mezentsev Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Belarus. Who is he?
Worked with Putin
Dmitry Mezentsev was born in 1959 in Leningrad. He graduated from the Leningrad Institute of Railway Engineers and worked as a foreman at a depot.
During his military service, he was an employee of the army press. Since January 1988 he has been the member of the Union of Journalists of the USSR.
In the early 1990s, he became the chairman of the press and media committee of the St. Petersburg City Hall. Interestingly, in the same period, Vladimir Putin headed the committee on external relations of the mayor’s office.
In November 1999, Mezentsev became the president of the Center for Strategic Research, which ensured Vladimir Putin’s election campaign in 2000.
Before his appointment, Dmitry Mezentse was a senator from Sakhalin Oblast, General Secretary of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Governor of Irkutsk Oblast.
Channel 1 Russia
In 2004, Mezentsev was offered the post of director of Channel One Russia, but no appointment followed. First among Russia’s country-wide channels, Channel One has more than 250 million viewers worldwide.
Dmitry Mezentsev defended his thesis on the “Psychology of the influence of the media on the political opinion of the individual” for getting a Ph.D. in psychology.
Since 2009, he has headed the Department of Political Psychology at St. Petersburg State University.
Ran for president
Mezentsev tried to run for President of Russia in 2012. On 14 December 2011, the Trade Union Committee of the East Siberian railway nominated Dmitry Mezentsev as a presidential candidate.
However, the Central Election Commission rejected Mezentsev’s candidacy, as after checking the signatures collected in his support, too many signatures were not recognized as valid.
Met with Lukashenko
The new Russian ambassador to Belarus is acquainted with the President of Belarus and even met with him in Minsk.
“We worked with him in the parliamentary assembly of Belarus and Russia, where representatives of the LDPB also work. The party chairman met with him repeatedly.
He also met with the President of Belarus many times and they have warm relations,” said the First Deputy of the Liberal Democratic Party of Belarus Oleg Gaidukevich.
Lukashenko and Mezentsev also met in October 2015. Then Dmitry Mezentsev served as Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Recall that the previous Russian ambassador Mikhail Babich was relieved of his duties on Tuesday, 30 April. His arrival to Minsk coincided with the beginning of a new, more active policy of the Russian authorities in Belarus.
Namely, since last year Moscow has been demanding real steps towards deeper integration from the Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko following the 1999 agreement on the creation of a Union State of Russia and Belarus.
The resignation of Babich, say the sources of Kommersant, is the result of repeated requests from President Lukashenko, which he personally addressed to Vladimir Putin.