Commenting on Monday's torturous meeting with Russian intelligence chief Sergei Naryshkin, the Guardian noted that he was one of the "hawks" of the Russian government known for his tough anti-Western stance.
After all, all the participants in the meeting of the National Security Council belong to that relatively narrow circle of executives who have "access to Putin's ear".
And yet, despite his strong institutional entity, Naryshkin found it very difficult to assure the Russian President of his intentions for the recognition of the independence of the separatist regions, with formulations that did not seem to excite Vladimir Putin.
As head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) - Deutsche Welle wrote in an article in December 2020 - "Sergei Naryshkin is well aware of how to reject accusations from the West. "Every so often, President Putin's confidant is asked to take an official position: on the recent hacking attacks on US services and ministries, the accusations against Russia for involvement in the 2016 US elections, the cyber attack on the German parliament or the killings of opponents abroad ".
Those were also the first days that Sergei Naryshkin, who usually remains in obscurity, began to appear in public and make statements.
The occasion was the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service SVR, whose main mission is to collect classified information, assess external threats and protect the Russian state.
Naryshkin has proudly stated that the SVR is one of the most effective intelligence services in the world, and he does not tire of stressing that the global spy network, which few other countries in the world has, is of immense value.
He was appointed to the position he currently holds in September 2016.
The invisible companion from the past
Naryshkin, a longtime ally of Vladimir Putin, had previously served as speaker of parliament, and his acquaintance with the Russian president dates back to the years of his "rumored" joint course with Vladimir Putin when he served in the KGB before the USSR broke up.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, he held a post at St. Petersburg's City Hall, coinciding roughly at the same time with Putin, who was higher in the hierarchy than him, while in 2008-2011 he served as chief of staff for the Russian President.
Officially, he first sided with Putin in 2004 when he joined his team as head of his financial staff.
Speaking of Economics, one last detail: In 2015, Naryshkin faced an accusation that his Ph.D. in Economics was largely a product of plagiarism, something he never admitted.
Information from BBC, Guardian, Deutsche Welle