Top-10 Ambassadors in Ukraine and Abroad

11:02 AM 21-2-2012

Institute of World Policy has released “Top-10 Foreign Ambassadors in Ukraine” and “Top-10 Ukrainian Ambassadors Abroad” rankings.Winners of this year’s ranking are Ambassador of Ukraine to the EU Kostiantyn Yelisieiev and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft, who are diplomats with different styles of work, but with the same ability to combine diplomatic activities with crisis management.
2011 severely tested both foreign and Ukrainian ambassadors not only at the level of their diplomatic self-control and skills to balance the most delicate situations, but also their level of creativity. It was the year when the diplomatic vocabulary of many of them had to get mixed with a narrow-purpose legal jargon, and to some foreign ambassadors the halls of Ukrainian courts became as familiar as their native embassies’
offices. It was the year when Ukraine, declaring the movement towards the European Union, gave a good reason to believe that it actually moved toward something like a Customs Union. It was the year when Ukrainian diplomats were forced to become politicians, and many foreign diplomats developed the symptoms of «Stockholm Syndrome.»
Obviously, the experts interviewed by the IWP, when assessing the effectiveness of each ambassador on the scale of ten, were primarily more focused on how professionally this or that diplomat was able to answer some key questions of the year 2011. For foreign, or rather Western ambassadors, these were questions like, «How to explain the Ukrainian trends to the own governments so that the fatigue from Ukraine
is not developed into a complete indifference to it?»; «How to stand for the defense of democratic values in Ukraine without antagonizing the Ukrainian government?» It is understandable that each ambassador
answered these questions in his or her own way. Some became frequent visitors to the presidential administration, some actively used all possible
media platforms, some preferred meaningful silence, and some of them found the dialogue with civil society useful.
The heads of Ukrainian missions abroad had to find the answer to some other questions. How to convincingly portray the politically motivated Tymoshenko’s criminal case to foreign governments? How to make Ukraine (or, more precisely, its President) not find themselves in a real international isolation? How, finally, to deliver to Kyiv messages about the complete rejection of the actions of the Ukrainian authorities and not to merely be dismissed?
Winners of this year’s ranking are Representative of Ukraine to the EU Kostiantyn Yelisieiev and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft, who are diplomats with different styles of work but with the same ability
to combine diplomatic activities with crisis management.
Among the «old residents» of our foreign top-10 are German Ambassador to Ukraine Hans-Jurgen Heimsoeth, British Ambassador Leigh Turner and the Ambassador of Georgia, Grigol Katamadze. Ambassador Jacques Faure left Ukraine in the sixth place. Among the newcomers to the winning ten there is the EU Ambassador Jose Manuel
Pinto Teixeira (and immediately to the second place!), Polish Ambassador Henryk Litwin and the Ambassador of Moldova, Ion Stavila. As a result, in the top ten foreign ambassadors we have six EU ambassadors and two
«post-Soviet» ambassadors who share Ukraine’s European aspirations, those of Moldova and Georgia.
As for Ukrainian Ambassadors, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the U.S. Oleksandr Motsyk, to Belgium and NATO Ihor Dolhov, to China Yuriy Kostenko and Ukraine’s Ambassador to Finland Andrii Deshchytsia feel
quite confident in the IWP’s top ten year after year. Among new faces we should first of all highlight Ambassador of Ukraine to Poland Markiyan
Malskyy (immediately to the third place) and the Ambassador of Ukraine in Turkey Sergiy Korsunsky. In a brief conclusion, eventually, we have a more diverse geography than in the case of foreign diplomats of the
highest rank: in addition to five Ukrainian ambassadors representing the European Union and the traditional U.S. and Russia, there are also China, Japan and Turkey.
Finally, a few words about the experts who, in fact, identified last year’s ten most successful ambassadors. This year the Institute of World Policy managed significantly to expand the circle of experts surveyed, which included diplomats, leading foreign policy analysts and journalists; actually, all those who know many foreign and Ukrainian ambassadors not only from the media but also personally. All those who felt sufficiently informed and competent to respond to the invitation of
the IWP to participate in our survey. We hope that the annual diplomatic «ambassador contest,» initiated by
the Institute of World Policy, remains an additional incentive to improve their diplomatic work for the benefit of Ukraine’s integration rather than isolation in the world.
TOP-10 Ukrainian Ambassadors Abroad
Kostiantyn Yelisieiev, Representative of Ukraine to the EU
223 points

The undisputed leader of the last year’s “Top-10 Ukrainian Ambassadors” successfully maintained the first position in 2011’s top ten as well. It is not surprising whereas the topic of Ukraine’s European integration overshadowed all other foreign policy areas. But Yelisieiev’s secret formula as an ambassador is not only in appearing at the right time in the right place. Kostiantyn Petrovych is obviously not one of those Ukrainian diplomats who abruptly lapse into diplomatic hibernation at times when Ukraine is being is being shunned by the international community. Rather, he thrives in times of adversity.
In order to ensure that negotiations with the EU on the Association Agreement were completed and to rescue the EU-Ukraine Summit (with Yanukovych’s participation), Yelisieiev had to resort to serious ad hoc diplomacy using all available communication formats. Such measures included text messages which he wrote to Commissioner Fule, and intimate conversations with certain MEPs moments before the adoption of the European Parliament’s well-known resolutions on Ukraine. He became so ubiquitous that by the end of the year some MEP’s, seeing him within the EU main legislative body walls, would say things like “Are you here again?”. Yelisieiev did not seem particularly concerned with such reactions, nor was he terribly concerned with how diplomatic circles would perceive that he saw off the EU Commissioner for Enlargement at Brussels National Airport to give him some “valuable guidelines” before leaving for Kyiv. Similarly, Yelisieiev seemed unconcerned as to how the expert media gathering would interpret the story of his helping Yanukovych with his coat just to gain a chance to whisper in Viktor Fedorovych’s ear some serious matters which had just come to a standstill at other levels nor did he care how informed experts would react to his readiness to fly to Berlin at a moment’s notice to explain as simply as possible to all the important people assembled there why Ukraine’s European integration motions should not be blocked.
Insiders attribute Yelisieiev’s unprecedented independence to his well-established direct contact with Bankova street. Some even connect the Presidential Administration’s loyalty to the ambassador’s Donetsk origin, which Yanukovych seems to remember from the time when Yelisieiev was appointed as a Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Whatever the reason, Yelisieiev’s name has in expert and diplomatic circles begun to emerge among the aspirants to replace Minister Gryshchenko, although he is still among the second-tier candidates. Yelisieiev himself, it seems, would not mind to face the next diplomatic challenge as an ambassador either but not necessarily in the European Union. Yelisieiev’s lead over some other heads of Ukrainian diplomatic missions is also provided by the fact that despite his temporary Brussels residence permit he is constantly present in the Ukrainian media. A TV broadcast, comment or interview has become a matter of one call (and often on his personal cell phone) rather than a mass of official inquiries and endless negotiations with the press office. What Kostiantyn Petrovych should still work on is his explicitness: headstrong determination in diplomacy is not always identical with standing up for national interests.

Olexander Motsyk, Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States
112 points

You can hardly envy Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, Olexander Motsyk. To develop relationships with the world’s key champion of democracy amid the collapse of democracy in Ukraine and high-profile trials is a thankless task even for one of the most experienced and simultaneously most cautious of Ukrainian diplomats. Moreover, if the United States is among the three key foreign partners of Kyiv along with Russia and the EU (at least officially), Ukraine clearly does not even appear in the top twenty on the list of American diplomatic priorities. It is even less likely to appear during U.S. Presidential elections, when any serious candidate would not want to discredit himself with questionable international contacts in the eyes of the electorate.
As Ambassador since the days of President Kuchma, Olexander Motsyk has toughened through outstanding international fights for the honour of Ukraine. To maintain the political dialogue between two countries he did everything possible to alleviate such difficulties as the political situation in Ukraine and fatigue from Ukraine, which successfully migrated from the Old to the New Continent. Additionally, he had to ensure the image of Viktor Fedorovych circa 2011 would not be perceived by the U.S. as Leonid Kuchma circa 2003. Desperate attempts to bring together Yanukovych and Obama sometimes appeared laudable (as at the summit of Central and Eastern Europe in Warsaw), and other times laughable (as at the UN General Assembly in New York when the banal greeting of two presidents was portrayed as a “short working meeting” by the Ukrainian side and the actual greeting was recorded on a Ukrainian delegation member’s cell phone).
And Olexander Motsyk’s attempts to create at least a minimum appearance of warm acceptance of Viktor Yanukovych at the Ukrainian community level, in general, resulted in a public relations disaster for the ambassador. The Ukrainian Ambassador supposedly tried to persuade representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora, dissatisfied by actions of official Kyiv toward the opposition, to abandon protests planned to coincide with Viktor Yanukovych’s visit to New York. The “telephone diplomacy” incident garnered considerable notoriety, obviously not improving the Olexander Motsyk’s reputation. However, most of the IWP rating experts are reluctant to resort to categorical judgments about this, knowing to which extent the head of the Ukrainian diplomatic mission in Washington appeared to be between a rock and a hard place. Olexander Motsyk’s assurance that “the Ukrainian government does not choose between reforms and democracy, because they are equally important in the context of Ukraine’s transformation into a highly developed European country,” must sound somewhat surprising for the U.S. government since its representatives familiar with Ukraine issues say in informal conversation that, in fact, they see neither real reforms nor real democracy. And any op-eds from the ambassador in the American press or even Ukrainian advertising inserts in The Washington Post are unable to mask the real situation in Ukraine or presently to awaken Washington’s interest toward Kyiv, unless pronouncements from the State Department about the persecution of the opposition, U.S. Congressional resolutions or Hillary Clinton’s letters to Yulia Tymoshenko are considered such interest. However, some Ukrainian experts who participated in the IWP survey noted that if not for the Olexander Motsyk’s exceptional perseverance the stated attitude of Washington toward Kyiv would be even harsher.
Not surprisingly, the Ukrainian ambassador tries to compensate for the high-level political communications vacuum between Ukraine and the United States by the intensification of trade and economic relations and cultural projects. On his initiative, meetings of American and Ukrainian business leaders have been held and presentations of financially attractive Ukrainian enterprises were delivered. The diplomat shined in 2011 by organising a celebration marking the anniversary of Ukraine’s independence – the largest such event in the history of Ukrainian-American relations: it was held in the Great Hall of the Library of Congress with more than a thousand distinguished guests. This unprecedented expression of respect for the fact of Ukraine’s independence was made without regard to its form of government.
Markiyan Malskyy, Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Poland
106 points

Markiyan Malskyy began his diplomatic work in complex conditions. Almost from the very beginning of his stay in Warsaw he endured a squall of angry reactions from the Presidential Administration of Ukraine. Diplomatic circles attribute this attitude to the interview the ambassador to Poland gave to the Ukrainian media, in which it seems he allowed himself to say more than he should have. Of course, over time that impression has faded, but some unpleasant feelings remain. In particular lingered the belief, infecting expert and diplomatic circles both in Warsaw and Kyiv, that Markiyan Malskyy has no access to the presidential administration in Ukraine, which for an ambassador is a very serious shortcoming. As we can see, Ukrainian experts surveyed by the IWP do not see a particular tragedy in this. Otherwise, he would hardly have managed to get to top three of our list. Some of them, for example, believe that it is enough for an ambassador to have a good chemistry with the Foreign Minister. Who else but Malskyy has it. Even before his appointment to Poland, Malskyy, when he was Dean of the Faculty of International Relations of Lviv National University, was considered as a creature of Gryshchenko, as it was said that Kostyantyn Ivanovych lobbied for the appointment of his longtime friend. {3}
Really, the matter is not only about personal contacts. When evaluating the ambassador, experts could not avoid focusing on the dynamics of Polish-Ukrainian relations in 2011. The number of formal and informal contacts shattered all records, thanks, significantly, to the Polish Presidency of the EU. Markiyan Malskyy did not have to spend much time on things that are real dilemmas for Ukrainian ambassadors in Germany, France or, in the present context, even the United States. For example – how to organize a meeting of President of Ukraine with his counterpart in the West. On the other hand, smooth political dialogue between Ukraine and Poland (thanks in part to Aleksander Kwasniewski, the Chairman of the Yalta European Strategy of Pinchuk Foundation) risks reducing the role of the Ambassador of Ukraine to Poland to a primitive “gladhander”. This, of course, if President Komorowski will still wish to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart after Euro 2012.

Ihor Dolhov, Ambassador of Ukraine to Belgium, Head of Mission of Ukraine to NATO
82 points

Surprisingly, Ihor Dolhov, both Ambassador of Ukraine to Belgium and Head of Mission of Ukraine to NATO, quickly managed to adapt to the new political realities of Ukraine’s “non-bloc” policy instead of the long time goal of “Euro-Atlantic integration”. Moreover, last year Dolhov did everything possible to maximize benefits from Ukraine’s new status for cooperation between Ukraine and NATO. In particular, using the absence of serious emotional history in this topic. Thus, under the non-alignment, there was a kind of renaissance last year in Ukraine’s relations with the Alliance, and Ihor Dolhov, according to the experts surveyed by the IWP is firmly ranked in our top five.
Ukrainian and foreign experts unanimously attributed to his merits positive development in political dialogue and strengthening practical cooperation with NATO. Indeed, the visit of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to Kyiv, NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Kyiv, “round table” at the Diplomatic Academy celebrating 20 years of Euro-Atlantic Partnership, the visit of Kostyantyn Gryshchenko to NATO Headquarters and the visit to Kyiv of NATO delegation led by James Stavridis and James Appathurai – is a far from complete list of high-level meetings which Ihor Dolhov was more or less involved in organizing in 2011. Moreover, according to insiders at NATO headquarters, if not for the Ukrainian Ambassador’s persistence, some of these visits (in particular that of the NATO Secretary General) would not have happened last year.
The Ukrainian ambassador is “an experienced career diplomat with whom one always enjoys working, because you can have one hundred percent confidence in achieving the desired result,” a high-ranked expert, surveyed by IWP, described Ihor Oleksiyovych, who has “great authority in Brussels, which allows him to properly promote the national interests of Ukraine in the West.”
As a result, many of our experts called 2011 very successful in terms of practical cooperation between Ukraine and NATO, but the level of trust between NATO and the current Ukrainian government, they state, still needs diligent effort.

Sergiy Korsunsky, Ambassador of Ukraine to Turkey
77 points

The vigor and enthusiasm of Sergiy Korsunsky, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Turkey proved to be very useful in the Ukrainian-Turkish dialogue in 2011. “Relations between our two countries this year have grown from almost nothing to a close partnership,” the ambassador himself said, “particularly with the implementation of several important steps: the creation of free trade zone and a visa-free regime between Turkey and Ukraine”.
Some experts interviewed by the IWP proclaimed the almost flawlessly organized December visit of President Viktor Yanukovych to Ankara, during which nine bilateral documents were signed, including the long-awaited Intergovernmental Agreement on open borders, as Sergiy Korsunsky’s crowning diplomatic achievement. Of course, such a revival in the dialogue between Ankara and Kyiv is hardly only the ambassador’s doing. As they say in diplomatic circles, a good relationship that existed between President Yanukovych and Prime Minister Erdogan ever since Yanukovych became Prime Minister also played an important role.
Last year also the High-Level Strategic Board between Ukraine and the Republic of Turkey began to operate, the first meeting of which was co-chaired by the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan. Such a format is an entirely new phenomenon in the foreign policy of Ukraine.
Of course, relations with Turkey would not be as attractive to the Ukraine, if not for their business component. Ambassador Korsunsky, it seems, is well aware of that. Thus, in November 2011 he contributed to a large-scale presentation of national projects of Ukraine in Istanbul with the participation of the State Agency for Investments and Turkish business representatives. The FTA between Turkey and Ukraine is one more real challenge to Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey, since its creation requires the Ukrainian party to stand much firmer for national interest. Some experts have already estimated that if an FTA with Turkey is created, Ukraine’s state budget will receive 114 million UAH less per year. The Ukrainian side does not seem to be scared of such predictions, and Ukraine’s Ambassador to Turkey is convinced that the negotiation process to establish an agreement will continue for about one to two years. Meanwhile, as the free trade zone is not established yet, Korsynskyy is proud that Ukraine is the No.1 destination for flights from Istanbul airports.
Probably the only fly in the Ukrainian-Turkish ointment has become Turkey’s agreement for the “South Stream” to be built by Russia – a gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine, against the construction of which Ukrainian government has deployed all its diplomatic and informational resources since the coming to power of President Yanukovych, in particular in Turkey as well. The Ambassador’s personal publications in the Turkish media about the “South Stream” project having no prospectus, which were appearing even after Turkey signed agreement with Russia, received great publicity. However, the main promoters of friendship with Turkey in government circles say that the Turks really did not want to harm Ukraine in any way but that the Russians simply “set them up”.

Andriy Deshchytsia, Ambassador of Ukraine to Finland
55 points

The Ambassador of Ukraine to Finland, Andriy Deshchytsia, from year to year confidently confirms the formula deduced before by the Institute of World Policy – “sometimes it is not the country that speaks well of an ambassador but the ambassador who speaks well of the country”. Clearly, the space for diplomatic manoeuvring by the ambassador of Ukraine to Finland is pretty limited. At least due to, unlike in Sweden, the field of diplomatic manoeuvring regarding Ukrainian matters is limited in Finland itself. Largely because of reluctance to provoke a negative reaction from the great Finnish neighbour. However, according to knowledgeable experts in the Finnish government, diplomatic and expert circles, you can hardly find anyone who specializes in Eastern Europe, and who after ten minutes of conversation with Ukrainian interlocutors would not have told themselves something like: “You know, you have a very good ambassador in Helsinki”.
Some always add the epithet “European” to the word “ambassador”. Like, Andriy has nothing in common, as everyone else does, with the old, yet mostly Soviet school of Ukrainian diplomacy. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine some Ukrainian ambassadors participating in discussions on Ukraine in the host country’s various think-tanks even if they are not among the speakers. Or to imagine them participating in such creative projects as «CDphoto» in Finland (when a certain range of foreign ambassadors were commissioned to do a few shots of Finland, which were then included in a photo album and an exhibition was hosted and accompanied by the ambassadors involved in the project throughout the country) in order to have the name “Ukraine” at least somehow mentioned in the host country which is generally indifferent to Ukraine. As noted by one of the experts surveyed by the IWP, the secret of ambassador Deshchytsia’s success is that he takes his ambassadorial mission as an honour to represent Ukraine, but not as an honourable exile.
Nataliya Zarudna, Ambassador of Ukraine to Germany
53 points

Natalia Zarudna, completed her work as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Ukraine to Germany in December 2011 and soon is to head the OSCE mission in Kazakhstan. During the four years of her post as the head of the Ukrainian diplomatic mission in the FRG, appointed by President Yushchenko, Zarudna had to plunge into the maelstrom of Ukrainian-German relations, which seemed as if doomed due to the emergence of new barriers between Kyiv and Berlin. Germany was equally acute in not accepting either the conception of democracy with internal political instability or domestic political stability with the inception of anti-democratic trends in Ukraine.

And the final chord of negotiations between Ukraine and the EU on the Association Agreement revealed the already serious phobias which existed in the German elite about the European future of Ukraine. As Nataliya Zarudna admitted already after her resignation, it was extremely difficult for Germany to recognize the European identity of Ukraine. Especially against the background of open criminal cases against Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko, the honour and reputation of whom ambassador Zarudna already had to rescue a few years ago after the well-known incident at Frankfurt Airport. The situation is complicated by the fact that Angela Merkel, regardless of her personal perception of “Lady Y”, perceives Tymoshenko as a political ally due to her link with the European People’s Party. Moreover a German rule is to defend political allies… Especially, if it helps to solve Berlin’s foreign policy tasks.

Yuriy Kostenko, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China and to Mongolia
50 points

Last year Ukrainian-Chinese relations began with the echo of a diplomatic incident that took place during a ceremony of the Nobel Peace Prize related with the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. Then, let’s recall, at the request of the Chinese side to ignore the Nobel event, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Norway did not attend it. This seemingly non-important, but very significant point raised serious questions in Ukrainian-Chinese relations: to which extend Ukraine is ready to sacrifice certain political positions for some economic privileges with China? In fact, it was the impetus to somehow cool down the euphoria in the Chinese direction of Ukrainian foreign policy, and to draw certain “red lines” which Kyiv is not ready to cross in dialogue with Beijing under any circumstances.
However, Kyiv’s enthusiasm to deepen relations with China was actually not affected by this. A proof for this was the “great Chinese visit” in June 2011, when President Hu Jintao came to Ukraine (worth mentioning that the last Chinese leader stepped foot on Ukrainian soil more than a decade ago). Moreover, not only to Kyiv, but also to Yalta, with which, as our interlocutors in diplomatic circles say, he related the most pleasant memories of the time he visited Ukraine in 2000 in another capacity.
The real point of pride for Yuriy Kostenko is the signing of the Declaration on Strategic Partnership between Ukraine and China during that visit, and which the government of President Yanukovych hastened to portray as the first brick in the development of the Ukrainian-Chinese Great Silk Road. Although, again each side put its own content into the strategic partnership. If Ukraine interests China, above all, as a political ally in this region of Europe, then Ukraine is interested in China’s money. In any case, supporters of the development of Ukrainian relations with China hope that the outcome of bilateral relations at a strategic level means for Confucian philosophy an agreement to develop cooperation in all fields, therefore it will become an incentive for any Chinese official or businessman to get interested in Ukraine.
Sceptics claim that a strategic Beijing-Kyiv friendship will remain on paper, but Yuriy Kostenko gives financial arguments: trade between China and Ukraine passed the 10-billion threshold in 2011, the volume of joint investment projects, among which the most mentioned in media is the project of the passenger railway connection between Kyiv and “Borispol” international airport, is steadily increasing. Ukrainian experts are more cautious in positive estimates but do recognize: the head of the diplomatic mission of Ukraine in China is doing everything possible to address issues of bilateral relations promptly and effectively.
Yuriy Kostenko plans to actively promote the expansion and establishing of cooperation in humanitarian and cultural spheres. For this purpose, according to the Ukrainian Ambassador, all preconditions have been set and priorities identified. Only one thing is left to do and that is to – keep on with the laborious diplomatic work.
Volodymyr Yelchenko, Ambassador of Ukraine to Russia
48 points

In 2011, a serious burden dropped on the Ukrainian Ambassador to Russia. Scandals over the Ukrainian library and cancellation of the registration of Ukrainian autonomy, hesitancy of the Ukrainian side about the possibility of joining the customs union, epistolary masterpieces of Mykola Azarov, secret incognito visits by Vladimir Putin to the Crimea and evening chats between Viktor Yanukovych with his Russian counterpart in Zavydovo – there was no chance for the Ukrainian Ambassador to get bored. But there were also not too many chances to particularly express himself: Ukrainian-Russian relations have long time ago come to a level where leaders prefer communication without much diplomatic support. The answer once given by one of the heads of the EU delegation office to the question “Who in the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry deals with Russia?” is revealing in this respect. The answer was “Everybody.” When translated from diplomatic language it actually means nobody.
Something for which part of our experts paid tribute to Volodymyr Yelchenko – is, in the words of one of them, that “the Ukrainian Embassy coped with the kaleidoscope of almost weekly conferences, meetings and negotiations without unnecessary conflict and fever.” In principle, there were enough conflicts and fever at the highest levels of relations.
The Kremlin could not accept the forceful request of Ukraine to finalize negotiations on the FTA and Association Agreement with the EU as a whole, particularly when Russia offered, in their opinion, a very tempting alternative: membership in the Customs Union, and especially when the tempting prospective de facto meant Moscow would agree to review the gas price for Ukraine – that like the sword of Damocles hanging over the Ukrainian-Russian relations, almost from the first months of Yanukovych’s presidency and continues to increase pressure on Moscow and Kyiv.
The news of Tymoshenko’s arrest on charges of abuse of office when signing gas contracts was also received with surprise in the Russian capital – Vladimir Putin even visibly shrugged his shoulders in front of TV cameras. No wonder: he did warn Yanukovych, according to insiders, if to imprison Yulia then not for gas, but Yanukovych deliberately did not listen. Of course, we are talking about that level of high politics, which in modern Ukrainian reality cannot be seriously corrected neither by the former Ambassador of Ukraine to Russia and present Foreign Minister Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, nor, even less, today Ukraine’s ambassador to Russia Volodymyr Yelchenko.

Mykola Kulinych, Ambassador of Ukraine to Japan
44 points

The appearance of the Ukrainian Ambassador to Japan, Mykola Kulinich, in this year’s TOP-10 ambassadors is well deserved. In early 2011 the head of the Ukrainian diplomatic mission organized a large-scale visit of President Viktor Yanukovych to the “Land of the Rising Sun.” However, the Japanese people themselves were not left with the most pleasant memories of Yanukovych’s visit. This includes not sticking to the protocol by the Ukrainian president during meetings in Tokyo (for example, Yanukovych forgot to worship the Japanese emperor). And on a trip from Tokyo to Osaka, when the President’s security stood out by locking a wagon door for other passengers and strict security measures. Also when the Ukrainian official delegation was noticed in expensive boutiques of Osaka after canceling all protocol meetings and allegedly had to return home after explosions in Makiyivka, the bowl of East Asian patience finally got over filled. They say, the local governor warned that no more Ukrainians are to be seen even close to the territory of his prefecture.
In addition to organizing a Japanese tour for Yanukovych, foreign policy experts attribute to Mykola Kulinich’s achievements the fact that after the devastating earthquake and nuclear power plant accident in March 2011 the Embassy of Ukraine in Tokyo quickly and skillfully, working at full capacity, organized evacuations for everyone interested. The Ambassador personally traveled to the city of Fukushima, the most affected by the nuclear disaster. There he contributed to the earliest possible transfer of humanitarian goods from Ukraine in the form of individual radiation protection means.
Moreover, Mykola Kulinich diligently worked last year to open new investment horizons for Ukraine. With insurmountable optimism he kept persuading Japanese business that the Ukrainian economy has sufficient potential to seriously interest very cautious partners from Japan, he was tirelessly promoting Ukrainian domestic market, infrastructure, black soils, mineral resources and favourable geopolitical location. Although this dedicated work of the Ukrainian diplomat has not brought tangible dividends yet, experts were fair in appraising them with high points.

John Tefft, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine
1st place
270 points

John Tefft winning this year’s ranking of ambassadors is a proof that being an effective ambassador does not always have to be as public. The effectiveness of a foreign ambassador, in specific the Ukrainian context, means not only the ability to professionally pursue interests of their country in the host country, but also access to the country’s key policy makers and the opportunity to convey the necessary messages to them. Ideally, to also correct certain decisions of the Ukrainian authorities, insecure from a democratic point of view.
The professional experience of John Tefft in Ukraine, in 2011, is worth a special expert study due to some rather paradoxical phenomena. On the one hand, he made no secret of Washington’s attitude to the trial of Yulia Tymoshenko, moreover, there are reasons to believe that he took a significant part in shaping this attitude. He was the first foreign ambassador who even dared to request a visit to Tymoshenko in prison. On the other hand, the American ambassador was able to do so that his persona did not cause allergies either at Bankova street or in other organs of the Ukrainian authorities, as some other European Union’s and, they say, Russian ambassadors do. Perhaps the secret is in the fact that the American side, as opposed to the EU, even when criticizing Ukrainian authorities tried in any case not to humiliate them. Or, probably due to the fact that many representatives of the current government team treat the U.S. if not with admiration and respect then with some fear. They also feel like a kind of ally when there is a prolonged pause with the EU and Russia, who continue to apply pressure regarding gas and a Customs Union.
Beside this, last year the work of the American ambassador to Ukraine was more extensive than just preparing reports on the political situation in Ukraine for the U.S. Department of State and informal communication with the country’s government officials. In 2011 the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine started a new discussion site – the U.S. Ambassador’s Forum which was initiated by Tefft. It was created to discuss urgent issues of the modern world with participation of experts from the United States. As an example, the visit of the well-known American historian Timothy Snyder, who came to Kyiv within this forum’s framework and presented and discussed his latest book “Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin”, drew a wide response in the expert circles of Ukraine.
John Tefft himself last year did not break the tradition of pleasing the Ukrainian public with substantive public speeches (political commentators would call them ‘policy’). In particular, the American ambassador made this kind of address at Kyiv Polytechnic Institute last year. The speech was entitled “Democracy and why it is so important to Ukraine?” In it the Ambassador not only tried to prove that democracy and economic development go hand in hand, but he for example called on the Ukrainian youth not to leave Ukraine but to “stay and participate in development of private business, innovation and the rule of law here”.

Jose Manuel Pinto Teixeira, Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation in Ukraine
2nd place
234.5 points

If the IWP ranking was to determine the most active and public foreign ambassadors of the last year, then the EU Ambassador, Manuel Pinto Teixeira, would have every chance to head it, but obviously not all experts tend to equate an ambassador’s publicity and activeness to his effectiveness. As noted by one well known foreign analyst, “Ambassador Teixeira failed to keep control of the situation; he attended hearings of the Tymoshenko case, even published open letters demanding, in particular, to be invited to Savik Shuster’s talk show “Svoboda Slova”. However, the majority of his diplomatic moves were fruitless”.
Ambassador Teixeira really became markedly more active last year, moreover, as most of our experts noticed, it is quite symptomatic that such zeal strangely coincided with the arrest of the former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Ambassador Teixeira did not restrain himself from comments, in November last year he said that the EU did not see the desire of the Ukrainian authorities to move towards the values of the European Union, because, in particular, “Mrs. Tymoshenko is being judged by the law written in the times of Stalin and Khrushchev”. Insiders attribute the enviable independence and initiative of Ambassador Teixeira to his friendly relationship with his compatriot, Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission.

Hans-Jurgen Heimsoeth, Ambassador of Germany to Ukraine
3rd place
225 points

It seems that every year the Ambassadorship of Germany to Ukraine turns out to be a real diplomatic test. In 2010, he had to react to the situation caused by the detention of the head of the Adenauer Foundation’s representative office in Ukraine, while preparing for Viktor Yanukovych’s visit to Germany; in 2011 he actually had to dispel the myth of Germany being enemy number 1 on the way towards Ukraine’s European integration. The myth, created by pro-government political engineers, quickly spread to the media space and called the real effect of deja vu when in 2008 Angela Merkel almost crossed out the Euro-Atlantic ambitions of Ukraine and Georgia, when she flatly refused to meet these countries’ applications to get the NATO membership Action Plan. Hans-Jurgen Heimsoeth hastened to refute all the allegations in his own articles and numerous interviews, where the main message was simple enough: not Berlin, but Kyiv is the main obstacle to Ukraine’s accession to the EU.
“Ukrainian authorities should not underestimate the EU’s deep concern about processes in Ukraine”, – the German Ambassador warned. At the annual debate with the participation of the Weimar Triangle ambassadors hosted by the Institute of World Policy, inter alia, he said: “Indeed, there are politicians in Germany who can hardly imagine how the Association Agreement with Ukraine can proceed whilst Yulia Tymoshenko is in jail. I, myself, do not fully understand on which legal basis Mrs. Tymoshenko remains in prison”.

Generally, German diplomats are familiar with the Ukrainian justice system and prison realities not just according to hearsay, as they did not just personally attended court hearings on the Tymoshenko and other political prisoners’ cases, but also visit 16 German citizens who are imprisoned in Ukrainian prisons. In addition, they often have to defend the interests of German companies which from time to time fall victim of the more than questionable decisions of the Ukrainian Themis. “Ukrainian corruption and judicial lawlessness has forced German investors to look for better conditions in other countries”, – the Ambassador could not hold back this comment in one of his last year’s interviews.

The German Embassy in Ukraine does not only deal with the political affairs, but also continues to actively support and promote cultural and scientific relations between Ukraine and Germany. In May 2011 a meeting of teachers from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) from Moldova, Romania and Ukraine was held in Lviv. Hans-Jurgen Heimsoeth also took part in the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the partnership between Kyiv and Leipzig.
The German Ambassador also never misses the opportunity to communicate with the Ukrainian expert community and civil society. His undoubted trumps are the ability to look at Ukraine not through Russian glasses, which is considered to be an atypical friendliness for the diplomatic corps; his good command of Russian and understanding of the Ukrainian language. In addition, Mr. Heimsoeth succeeded to establish really professional teamwork in the German Embassy in Ukraine.

Henryk Litwin, Ambassador of Poland to Ukraine
4th place
179 points

The Ambassador of Poland to Ukraine immediately found himself in the right place at the right time. He came to Kyiv when Poland was, at full speed, preparing for the presidency in the EU and he openly talked about valuable guidance given to him by Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski moments before leaving for Ukraine. “When I last met with the Minister he emphasized that the most important this year is the FTA and EU-Ukraine Association Agreement” – the Ambassador shared in an interview last July. The task was partly completed: the negotiations both on the free trade area and Association Agreement were accomplished.
The performance benefit of the Polish presidency in the European Union, planned by Poland for the Ukraine-EU summit, did not occur: aggravating factors from the Ukrainian side were too serious, or rather, only one factor – politically reasoned justice. Ambassador Litwin tried to organize suitable sites in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities for the Polish leadership to explain, as friends, to Ukrainian colleagues how Tymoshenko and other opposition figures’ cases impact on relations between Ukraine and the EU. Ambassador Litwin was lucky: he had no need to convince the Polish leadership to do it because, in Warsaw, they perfectly realized which geopolitical stakes were played. Moreover, he came to Kyiv in a time when high-level bilateral dialogue was already well established and the administrations of the two presidents did not always need their ambassadors to mediate communication at the highest level.
Tributes must be paid to the Ambassador’s ability to quickly dive into Ukrainian reality: he did not only get acquainted with the Ukrainian government and expert and media environment representatives extremely fast, but also quickly mastered the Ukrainian language.

Grigol Katamadze, Ambassador of Georgia to Ukraine
5th place
160.5 points

Grigol Katamadze over the years as Ambassador in Kyiv has become a kind of personification of Georgia in Ukraine. He, unlike other colleagues from the diplomatic corps, is not only well aware of the political situation in Ukraine, but he senses it perfectly. He knows what number to dial and which doors to knock on to get the right result to benefit Ukrainian-Georgian relations. Moreover, he repeatedly had to enlighten ambassadorial newcomers on Ukrainian affairs, including some participants of our ranking.
Even with all the Ambassador’s professionalism and contacts Ukrainian-Georgian relations were not in the best political shape last year. Of course, it was not the fault of the Georgian side, which continued to do everything possible in order to get high-level dialogue between Kyiv and Tbilisi out of a coma. Ukrainian authorities, in fact, openly played the Azerbaijan stake in the South Caucasus region. Obviously, the Azerbaijani oil and gas resources seem more valuable to the Ukrainian elite than a partnership with Georgia obtained over years and tested in most critical situations.
The Georgian side managed to keep bilateral relations in good health thanks to regular Georgian delegations’ visits to Ukraine, in particular, led by Giorgi Baramidze, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration. Ukrainian officials visited Tbilisi too, for example, Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Tigipko within the task of the Cabinet of Ministers, travelled to Georgia to study the experience of liberal democratic reforms and on his return almost became the main advocate of them in the Ukrainian government.
In general, Georgian reforms, not without the personal contribution of Grigol Katamadze, last year became a fashionable trend in Ukrainian political and expert circles. Even Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said that “much of what is done in Georgia is adopted by the Ukrainian government and will be implemented in life.”
In order to make up the political gap, Ukraine and Georgia tried to revive dialogue in the business sphere. Prerequisites for this are very favourable: Ukrainian investors are interested in infrastructure projects supported by the Government of Saakashvili and Georgian businessmen are attracted by the powerful Ukrainian market. Last year the Georgian-Ukrainian business forum was held and Joint Intergovernmental Ukrainian-Georgian Commission on Economic Cooperation was reactivated.
Georgia is also always present in the cultural and information space of Ukraine. The embassy led by Grigol Katamadze fully supports Georgian performers’ tours to different cities in Ukraine, opening restaurants with Georgian cuisine, exhibitions of Georgian artists. However, the confession made by Mikheil Saakashvili last year at a meeting with Ukrainian government officials and businessmen in Tbilisi may be considered as the highest expressed recognition of Grigol Katamadze’s performance: “I want to say that relations between the nations have never been better than now. This I declare with full responsibility and this is the result of our collaboration in the development of our countries”.

Jacques Faure, Ambassador of France to Ukraine
6th place
157 points

Ukrainian-French relations experienced difficult times in 2011. Statements by Ambassador Jacques Faure on the trials of Yulia Tymoshenko and other members of opposition groups were even more rigid then those, coming from the U.S. and the European Union sides. He was one of the first who set direct dependence of the Association Agreement and free trade area between Ukraine and the EU in compliance with democratic standards and righteous judgment. “If official Kyiv does not take the appropriate action, the public in Europe may not understand the conclusion of this Agreement as if nothing happened”, – European news agencies quoted the French ambassador. Official Kyiv heard appeals from the diplomat, and finally took steps: a statement was quickly distributed in the media saying that the French government decided to withdraw the explicit Jacques Faure from Kyiv precisely because of making statements about being concerned about the arrest of ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko. Head of the French embassy denied such suggestions and explained that he left Ukraine only because of his term’s completion, and annoying misinformation was, according to his sources, created within the walls of the local Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Ukrainians’ lack of tact with respect to the distinguished representative of France was responded to at the highest level when, according to diplomatic sources, the Presidential Administration sent a request to Paris to organize a meeting between Viktor Yanukovych with Nicolas Sarkozy at the UN General Assembly, and the French reaction was a demonstrative silence. However, the reluctance of the French President to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart, according to insiders, is not attributed only to Tymoshenko’s case and problems with French businesses in Ukraine, but also to the unfortunate incident with Ambassador Faure.
In any case, the Ambassador Jacques Faure went through all the trials with his head held high: the embassy continued to support the Ukrainian-French projects and conferences. In particular, the “Alliance Française” was opened in Donetsk, a seminar for journalists was held in Odessa and Chernivtsi. Jacques Faure also took part in the Ukrainian Internet Users Forum. One of the experts from the IWP rating emphasized: “During his entire cadence the ambassador almost did the most out of all the ambassadors from EU member states for the development of Ukrainian-French and Ukrainian-EU relations.”
Atypical for diplomats, the Ambassador’s openness and the ability to communicate with Ukrainian interlocutors through fluent Russian played an important role in this.

Leigh Turner, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Ukraine
7th place
128.5 points

Leigh Turner was last year permanently entrenched in the minds of Ukrainian expert community as the most advanced foreign ambassador in terms of Internet use for official purposes and for which, even among experts he got the nickname “ambassador-blogger”. “As a diplomat, I write blogs because I want to serve the interests of the UK. This is my main goal,” the British ambassador explained his active presence in the Internet space.
His candid blog attracts the attention of millions of readers, and successfully migrated from the Embassy’s site to several popular online news resources. In addition, Leigh Turner prefers to openly and non-diplomatically call a spade a spade. In 2011, the majority of ambassador’s posts were devoted to the curtailing of democracy in Ukraine, its sliding down in the international press freedom indices, and, of course, legal process against leaders of the Ukrainian opposition. “Adding more and more accusations simply leads to the fact that litigation gets less and less trust, and looks more and more politically motivated,” the head of diplomatic mission of the United Kingdom shared his own impressions of ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s case with readers.
In a conversation with journalists Leigh Turner called non-signing of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine a disaster, noting that Ukraine could soon find itself in the grey zone between the EU and former Soviet Union. According to him the detention of leaders of opposition parties without proper legal grounds surpasses any limits acceptable to the EU.
The Foreign Office’s vision in this way or another reflects the foresight of the diplomat accredited in Kyiv. Through the words of its leader, William Hague, the United Kingdom almost gave the most acute response to the court verdict in Tymoshenko’s case, considering it to be a serious obstacle to Ukraine’s European integration. In the NATO-Ukraine cooperation Britain also paid much attention to anti-democratic trends in Ukraine while most of the other member countries preferred practical cooperation without the accent on the political component.
The economic situation in the host country also did not add optimism to Leigh Turner last year. “When I came to Ukraine in 2008, the business climate in general was quite poor, it remained like this in 2009, the same – in 2010, and in 2011,” the ambassador recalled in an interview. By the way, the Embassy of the United Kingdom often received complaints from representatives of British companies faced with the Ukrainian tax or judicial realities and who, if not the ambassador, following the example of other counterpart ambassadors, should attempt to resolve them.

Mikhail Zurabov, Ambassador of Russia Federation to Ukraine
8th place
90 points

Last year Russian Ambassador to Ukraine, Mikhail Zurabov, loudly declared that the Ukrainian-Russian relations are going through a renaissance. This statement caused a great resonance, as it obviously contained more of a desire than actual reality.
Some of his other statements did not justify themselves either, in September 2011 Mikhail Zurabov assured reporters that there were at least 15 solutions to the Ukrainian-Russian gas conflict, later he argued that by the end of 2011 Ukraine and Russia would sign new intergovernmental gas agreements.
On the other hand, regardless of what the Russian ambassador says, everybody is well aware: all important bilateral issues are resolved at a completely different level. Moreover, Zurabov, with all due respect, is not Viktor Chernomyrdin, who could afford to directly contact officials at the highest level and even went hunting with some of them. Unlike the latter, the current Russian ambassador has an ambiguous reputation in government offices. In particular, according to one of our knowledgeable experts, he is not well perceived in the Presidential Administration. Last but not least – due to no particular cordiality and his inclination to preach.
Mikhail Zurabov did not succeed to defend the interests of Russian businesses well in Ukraine, whose honeymoon ended after Viktor Yanukovych came to the presidency, just after buying “Zaporizhstal”. One of the most resonant stories is the one about the court expropriating a controlling share of Zaporozhia Aluminum Plant from “Rusal” of Oleg Deripaska, for breach of investment commitments prescribed when the company was sold.
Where Ambassador Zurabov really showed the highest level of aerobatics was the organizing of so-called “embassy evenings” at the “Intercontinental” hotel, to which he usually invited a rather traditional, for the Russians, pool of politicians (led by the eternal embassy friends Leonid Kuchma and his wife), experts, public activists and journalists. The purpose of these evenings, by definition of the ambassador, was to discuss current problems using examples of the past. Such events were usually dedicated to a certain date – from the Komsomol’s anniversary to the anniversary of the death of Viktor Chernomyrdin, to which, by the way a special photo exhibition was also dedicated. Those, who were not lucky enough to get into the pool of the Russian Embassy, remembered Ambassador Zurabov last year by his gentlemanly gesture, offering his own charter plane to the well-known Ukrainian singer Sofia Rotaru when she could not fly from Kyiv to Crimea on a scheduled flight.

Petras Vaitiekunas, Ambassador of Lithuania to Ukraine
9th place
49 points
If there was a survey on which country in 2011 was the most faithful, consistent and least public in supporting Ukraine, Lithuania would obviously take first place, this opinion is shared by Ukrainian diplomatic circle profile experts. One of the Ukrainian foreign policy strategists even allowed himself in an informal communication to estimate that Lithuania last year deserved to be called the strategic partner of Ukraine more so than Poland, their efforts undertaken to rescue the dialogue between Ukraine and the EU were just less announced. Obviously, the level of the strategic partnership in terms of official Kyiv was measured by Lithuania’s undoubted support of Ukraine at every possible EU meeting.
The Ambassador of Lithuania to Ukraine, Vaitiekunas, is a true heavyweight. He is a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the republic and appears to allow himself to be a bit of a minister while serving as ambassador, that means being quite independent, quite enterprising and creative. Last year he persuaded the Lithuanian president to visit Ukraine even after the verdict in Tymoshenko’s case was announced and EU leadership decided to defer Yanukovych’s reception in Brussels. Famous Lithuanian speakers such as the former speaker of parliament and now a MEP, Vytautas Landsbergis, became, by the initiative of the Ambassador, regular guests in Ukraine (and not only in Kyiv). Communication with students where they describe in detail exactly what has given Lithuania membership in the European Union and NATO is one of the traditional contents of their programme. The advantage of the Ambassador of Lithuania to Ukraine and the official Vilnius in general is their very good understanding of complex post-Soviet transformations and extreme patience. “The rapid movement of Ukraine into the European Union failed, so we will do it slowly” – one Lithuanian diplomat said calmly. Petras Vaitiekunas apparently shares this attitude.

Ion Stavila, Ambassador of Moldova to Ukraine
10th place
46 points

If ever the ambassador of Moldova to Ukraine, Ion Stavila, decides to write a memoir about his diplomatic work in Kyiv he will probably devote one of the largest chapters to 2011. Perhaps Mr. Stavila even will name it “the beginning of rebooting”. Moreover, the acting President of Moldova Marian Lupu described the current state of relations between Ukraine and Moldova as a “reset”, and this name is hardly an exaggeration or a tribute to the international political trend. Even given that out of a set of serious bilateral problems, which were stubbornly but fruitlessly pursued by Chisinau and Kyiv for years, only one was solved – the problem around the act of land transfer near the village of Palanca, political dialogue between Kyiv and Chisinau changed dramatically last year. The Ambassador of Moldova in Ukraine, for at least the second half of the year, had to keep on preparing a diplomatic base for visits of his country’s leadership to Ukraine – if not for the acting President Marian Lupu in Kyiv, then in Yalta for the Prime Minister Vlad Filat. If for the latter, according to the IWP, there was a personal request from the Commissioner, Stefan Fule, to invite him to the Yalta European Strategy Forum, then with Lupu, Yanukovych built up a very warm relationship even without European mediators. Evidence of such mutual understanding was the fact that Lupu was the only leader of a foreign country who attended Yanukovych’s birthday celebration. More than revealing is also the flight of Lupu and Yanukovych in the same plane to the summit of the CIS (Yanukovych did not like how many transfers his Moldavian friend was to do to get from Chisinau to Dushanbe and invited him to fly together from Kyiv). Not less revealing is also the style of how visits are planned: “Marian Illich, come over to me in Kyiv next week”.
“Reset” between Ukraine and Moldova took place against a background of revival in the Transnistrian settlement. Ion Stavila is considered as one of the best experts on Transnistria and he constantly encourages his Ukrainian partners to also get more significantly involved in the Transnistrian case. His cell-phone number is well known to anyone who is related to the foreign policy of Ukraine, in general, and the Moldovan area in particular. He is very open to dialogue with representatives of Ukrainian NGOs and the media. For this, correspondingly, his work is so highly appreciated.