Мария Владимировна Захарова
|Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (Spokesperson)|
|Assumed office |
10 August 2015
|Preceded by||Alexander Lukashevich|
Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova
24 December 1975
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Andrei Makarov (m. 2005)
|Parents||Vladimir Zakharov, Irina Zakharova|
|Alma mater||Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University)|
Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova (Russian: Мария Владимировна Захарова; born 24 December 1975) is the Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (Spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation) from 10 August 2015. She has a degree of Candidate in Historical Sciences, the Russian equivalent of a PhD.
Zakharova was born to a family of diplomats. Her father, Vladimir Zakharov, moved the family to Beijing in 1981 when he was appointed to Soviet embassy there. The family left Beijing in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and returned to Russia in 1993. Her mother, Irina, is an art historian who has worked at Moscow's Pushkin Museum. In 1998, Maria Zakharova graduated from the Faculty of International Journalism at MGIMO in the field of orientalism and journalism. Her pre-diploma apprenticeship was carried out at the Russian Embassy in Beijing.
From 2003 to 2005 and from 2008 to 2011, she worked at the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. From 2005 to 2008, she was the press secretary of the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations in New York City.
From 2011 to 10 August 2015, Zakharova was the Deputy Head of the Department of Information and Press of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Her duties included organizing and conducting briefings of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, the organization of work of official Ministry accounts in social networks and information support of foreign visits of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Zakharova is known for her participation in political talk shows on Russian television and for contributing commentary on sensitive political issues in social networks. She is one of the most quoted Russian diplomats. She is often opposed to Jen Psaki (the official representative of the US State Department before 31 March 2015).
On 10 August 2015, by order of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zakharova was appointed director of the Information and Press Department. Zakharova became the first woman in the history of the department to hold this post.
In 2017, Zakharova accused the European Union of hypocrisy over its different behaviour towards the separatist crises in Crimea and Catalonia, after hundreds were injured by Spanish security forces preventing Catalans from voting during the Catalan independence referendum, saying "I see and read what is happening in Catalonia. And Europe will say something to us about the referendum in Crimea and the protection of human rights".
On 13 November 2016, Zakharova was criticised for making anti-semitic jokes on Russian state television that the U.S. election results were the result of a Russian Jewish conspiracy, stating "If you want to know what will happen in America, who do you have to talk to? You have to talk to our people in Brighton Beach, naturally". Brighton Beach is home to a large Russian Jewish community. She also spoke in a stereotypical Jewish accent.
On 2 March 2017, Zakharova refused to discuss allegations against the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak with a CNN reporter. She advised the broadcaster to stop spreading lies and fake news and said that Kislyak is a well known world-class diplomat.
On 28 April 2017, Zakharova appeared on Yahoo! News discussing the current international relations with Katie Couric. When Couric brought up the issue of torture against LGBT individuals in Chechnya, Zakharova shut the question down, stating it was not her issue to discuss.
In June 2019, Reuters reported that Zakharova "offered a tribute to those who died on the western front of World War II and said Moscow appreciated the Allied war effort", adding “It should of course not be exaggerated. And especially not at the same time as diminishing the Soviet Union’s titanic efforts, without which this victory simply would not have happened”. Zakharova stated, "As historians note, the Normandy landing did not have a decisive impact on the outcome of World War II and the Great Patriotic War. It had already been pre-determined as a result of the Red Army’s victories, mainly at Stalingrad (in late 1942) and Kursk (in mid-1943). There was a wish to wait for the maximum weakening of Germany’s military power from its enormous losses in the east, while reducing losses in the west."
On 28 November 2019, Zakharova criticised the decision of Czech mayor of Řeporyje, cadastral area of Prague and ex-journalist Pavel Novotný, to build statue of Andrey Vlasov. The Czech news Novinky.cz written "Regarding the intended monument, Zacharova added that she usually used terms such as "inflammatory" or "inadmissible", but in the present case it was an "absolutely terrible initiative". According to her, the aim is not only the mere falsification of history, but "reincarnation, pulling out of the grave the history of neo-Nazism, fascism and everything related to it"." Andrey Vlasov defected to Nazi Germany after being captured and headed the Russian Liberation Army (Russkaya osvoboditel'naya armiya (ROA)). At the war's end, he changed sides again and ordered the ROA to aid the Prague uprising against the Germans. Later, he was captured by Soviet forces, tried for treason and hanged. Pavel Novotný also has written a letter to Vladimir Putin in reaction of Russian diplomats statement, criticizing interference into local affairs and stating "if people here want to build a monument because they feel that Řeporyje and Prague owe the Vlasov, they will simply build it."
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