by Anatoly O. 04.21.2001
President Bush has selected a professional Foreign Service officer, Alexander Vershbow, 48, to be the ambassador to Russia.
Vershbow graduated with a B.A. in Russian and East European Studies from Yale College in 1974. In 1976, he received his Master's Degree in International Relations and a Certificate of the Russian Institute from Columbia University.
Vershbow joined the Foreign Service in 1977, serving in the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs (1977-79), Embassy Moscow (1979-81), the Office of Soviet Union Affairs (1981-85), and Embassy London (1985-88). From 1988 to 1991, Vershbow was Director of the State Department's Office of Soviet Union Affairs. From 1991 to 1993, Vershbow was U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to NATO and Chargé d'affaires of the U.S. Mission. From 1993 to 1994 Vershbow was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs. Vershbow has been the United States Ambassador to NATO since the beginning of January 1998. In the 3 years prior to his arrival in Brussels, Vershbow was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council.
In 1990, Vershbow was awarded the Anatoly Sharansky Freedom Award by the Union of Councils of Soviet Jews for his work in promoting Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union. In October 1997, he received the first annual Joseph J. Kruzel Award for his contributions to the cause of peace.
In August 1998, Vershbow put forward a proposal for a joint U.S.-Russian peace plan for Kosovo that the two nations would have brought to the United Nations Security Council for approval. The Clinton Administration ignored Vershbow's plan. Instead, they let administration hardliners take charge. Eleven weeks, billions of dollars, and thousands of lives later, NATO and Yugoslavia were coming to terms on a peace accord that could have been concluded without a NATO bombing campaign.
Ambassador Alexander Vershbow stands for the stability of Russia and the development of a Russia that is a cooperative and constructive member of the community of nations. “We are allies today because we share common values and a common vision for the future, rooted in democracy, human rights, and political pluralism,” he said. “We share certain values, which underpin not only our security alliances, but also our foreign policy as a whole and the friendship between our peoples. These values are democracy, human rights, free markets and the rule of law.”
So far the Bush administration is doing a superb job. The media is confused - who is in charge in the White House: Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, or Laura Bush?