As opposed to the overwhelming majority of researches within the so called “Diplomatic studies” that focus on an institutional design of external services (which appears to be “the form” of diplomacy per se), this article deals with “the substance” of the matter in question, paying special attention to the means and ways of educating and integrating young diplomats into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia. Unlike the State Department (the USA), Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO, the UK), le Quais d’Orsay (the MFA of France) or Das Auswärtige Amt (the MFA of Germany), that are influenced by the so-called “political appointees”, the Russian diplomatic service is renowned for its “career diplomats”, who generation after generation are recruited into the Ministry to form (by means of different vertical and horizontal ties) a close-knit team that promotes the country’s national interests on the world stage. Thus, the authors explore the process of renewal of the Russian diplomatic service, whereby young diplomats are being purposefully groomed in several national Universities (namely, MGIMO-University or Diplomatic Academy) to subsequently rise through the ranks of the Ministry by taking disparate career trajectories (for example, depending on or, conversely, irrespective of the foreign languages they acquired), occupying different job families (desk work, protocol, interpretation, consular service, public relations, etc.), taking part in a diplomatic rotation that will bring them to various home (in Headquarters) and overseas (Embassies, Permanent Missions and Consulate- Generals) postings and acquiring new ranks as a prerequisite to promotion from junior to senior positions. As a result, Russia’s diplomatic service has come to be seen as a full-fledged system, the key to understanding of which lies not in depicting the existing institutional framework (which appears to be the focus of the overwhelming majority of works on the matter), but in scrutinizing main recruitment principles and the MFA’s personnel policy, thoroughly analyzed in this article.
diplomacy, diplomatic service, the MFA of Russia, young diplomats, the Council of Young Diplomats
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