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Maria Zakharova

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Maria Zakharova
Мария Захарова
Zakharova in 2016
Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Assumed office
10 August 2015
PresidentVladimir Putin
Preceded byAlexander Lukashevich
Personal details
Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova

(1975-12-24) 24 December 1975 (age 48)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Andrei Makarov
(m. 2005)
Alma materMoscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University)

Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova (Russian: Мария Владимировна Захарова; born 24 December 1975) is a Russian politician who serves as the director of the information and press department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation[1] She has been the spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation since 2015.

She has a degree of Candidate in Historical Sciences, the Russian equivalent of a PhD.[2]

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Early life and education

Zakharova was born to a family of diplomats on 24 December 1975. Her father, Vladimir Zakharov, moved the family to Beijing in 1981 when he was appointed to the Soviet embassy there.[3] The family left Beijing for Moscow in 1993, two years after the Soviet Union had collapsed. Her mother, Irina Zakharova, is an art historian who has worked at Moscow's Pushkin Museum.[3]

In 1998, Maria Zakharova graduated from the Faculty of International Journalism at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in the field of orientalism and journalism. Her pre-diploma apprenticeship was carried out at the Russian Embassy in Beijing.

Early career

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,[4] 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 on social media. She is one of the most quoted Russian diplomats.[5] She often opposed Jen Psaki (the official representative of the US State Department before 31 March 2015).

Zakharova with Sergey Lavrov, John Kerry and Jen Psaki in Paris, January 2014
Zakharova with Lavrov, Kerry and Victoria Nuland in January 2014, before the deterioration of relations between Russia and the West following the annexation of Crimea.

Press Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

On 10 August 2015, by order of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zakharova was appointed director of the Information and Press Department.[6] Zakharova became the first woman to hold this post.[7] In 2016, she was chosen as one of BBC's 100 Women.[8]

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".[9] On 28 April 2017, Zakharova appeared on Yahoo! News discussing the current international relations with Katie Couric. When Couric brought up the reports of torture against LGBT individuals by the Chechen government, Zakharova said that Russia was conducting an investigation into the matter.[10]

Zakharova with Vladimir Putin in 2017, Order of Friendship ceremony

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."[11]

In 2021, Zakharova criticised a NATO military exercise called Defender-Europe 21,[12][13] one of the largest NATO-led military exercises in Europe in decades, which began in March 2021. It included "nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas" in Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania and other countries.[14][15] She claimed that by conducting these exercises, NATO is gathering a "strike fist" near Russia's borders.[12] On 15 April 2021, she stated that in 2021 alone "NATO is planning seven military exercises in Ukraine. The active phase of the Defender Europe 2021 exercise, the most extensive exercise for many years, is to commence near Ukraine soon."[13]

Tenure during Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 16 February 2022, Zakharova ridiculed Western media predictions of an imminent invasion of Ukraine by Russia when she had mockingly asked for the schedule of Russian invasion so that she could, ostensibly, "plan [her] vacation" accordingly.[16] On 28 February 2022, she wrote that "Russia did not start a war, it is ending it" and claimed that Russia was acting to end the "systematic extermination of the Donbas population" that had allegedly been ongoing since 2014.[17]

On 2 June 2022, Zakharova warned that Turkey's invasion of northern Syria "would be a direct violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity" and would "cause a further escalation of tensions in Syria."[18][19]

On 15 June 2022, she praised Russia's strategic partnership with China, adding that "Energy supplies are steadily increasing: China knows what it wants and doesn't shoot itself in the foot. While to the west of Moscow, they shoot themselves in the head."[20]

On 5 July 2022, Zakharova warned that Israel's incursions and strikes into southern Syria "is completely unacceptable. We strongly condemn such irresponsible actions that violate Syria's sovereignty and the basic norms of international law, and we demand their unconditional cessation."[21]

In January 2023, she recalled France's colonial past, saying that "French colonialism on the African continent has ended. The era when African countries had to ask someone, in particular France, before making a sovereign decision has ended."[22]

On 6 July 2023, U.S. president Joe Biden approved the provision of cluster munitions to Ukraine in support of a Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces in Russian-annexed southeastern Ukraine.[23] Zakharova said Washington's decision to supply Ukraine with cluster munitions showed the "aggressive anti-Russian course taken by the U.S., which is aimed at prolonging the conflict in Ukraine as much as possible."[24]

On 7 October 2023, following a Hamas-led attack on Israel, she said that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict "cannot be solved by force, but only by diplomatic means" and called "for the creation of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living in peace and security with Israel."[25]

In December 2023, she declared that peace in the Russo-Ukrainian War could only be achieved if Ukraine accepted "new territorial realities" and a neutral status, saying that "We will not allow the existence on our borders of an aggressive Nazi state from whose territory there is a danger for Russia and its neighbours." She also said that China was a "like-minded partner" and Russia had developed ties with many countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. According to Zakharova, Russia offers "honest and good-faith co-operation not based on diktat". Zakharova pointed out that 80% of the world's population lived in countries that had not adopted any sanctions against Russia.[26]

In March 2024, she refused to blame the Islamic State – Khorasan Province (IS-K) for the Crocus City Hall attack in Moscow and instead accused the United States of using Islamic State as a "bogeyman" to cover for Ukraine.[27]


On 23 February 2022, a day before Russia invaded Ukraine, she was sanctioned by the European Union alongside other prominent Russian media figures, as "a central figure of the government propaganda," and for having "promoted the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine." The sanctions include being placed on a No Fly list and the freezing of assets.[28]

Following the invasion, on 8 March, Australia also imposed sanctions on Zakharova.[29] On 18 March, Zakharova was included in Japan's expanded sanctions list.[30] The United States Department of the Treasury sanctioned Zakharova in June, with New Zealand and the United Kingdom following suit within the year.[31][32][33]


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.[34][35]

Personal life

On 7 November 2005, Zakharova married Andrei Makarov at the Russian Consulate in New York City.[36] The couple have a daughter, Maryana,[37] born in August 2010.[38]


  1. ^ Директор ДИП МИД Роcсии [Director of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs] (in Russian). Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  2. ^ Говорит Москва [Says Moscow] (in Russian). Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  3. ^ a b Benyumov, Konstantin; Tamkin, Emily (22 October 2018). "Meet The Woman Who Is Proudly Russia's Troll-In-Chief". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  4. ^ Мария Владимировна Захарова [Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova] (in Russian). 27 September 2015.
  5. ^ Официальным спикером МИД России стала Мария Захарова [The official spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry was Maria Zakharova]. Российская газета (in Russian). 10 August 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  6. ^ О назначении М.В.Захаровой директором Департамента информации и печати МИД России [On the appointment of MV Zakharova as Director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs] (in Russian). Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  7. ^ Официальным представителем МИД России стала «анти-Псаки» Мария Захарова [The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry was "anti-Psaki" Maria Zakharova]. (in Russian). Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  8. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2016: Who is on the list?". BBC News. 21 November 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  9. ^ Daniel McLaughlin (3 October 2017). "Russia and Serbia deride EU reaction to Catalan vote". The Irish Times.
  10. ^ Steven Shapiro (26 April 2017). "Exclusive: Russian spokeswoman on 'ridiculous' airstrikes in Syria, French election, fake news and dangers for gays in Chechnya". Yahoo! News. Katie couric. Retrieved 28 April 2017. Zakharova was less forthcoming when it came to discussing recent reports that the Chechnyan government is arresting and torturing gay men. She would only say that Russia is holding an investigation into the matter.
  11. ^ "Russia to West: D-Day wasn't decisive in ending World War Two". Reuters. 5 June 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Ukraine: purpose of upcoming Defender Europe 2021 exercise is to practice for war with Russia". UAWire. 4 April 2021.
  13. ^ a b "Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, April 15, 2021". The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. 15 April 2021.
  14. ^ "Massive, Army-led NATO exercise Defender Europe kicks off". Army Times. 15 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Germany Says Russia Seeking To 'Provoke' With Troop Buildup At Ukraine's Border". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 14 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Russians ridicule western media on ‘day of no invasion’." The Guardian, 16 February 2022.
  17. ^ "Fact check: Russia falsely blames Ukraine for starting war". Deutsche Welle. 3 April 2022.
  18. ^ "Russia urges Turkey not to launch offensive in northern Syria". Al Jazeera. 2 June 2022.
  19. ^ "Russia alarmed, US worried as Turkey announces new military operation in northern Syria". India Narrative. 3 June 2022.
  20. ^ "Russia says West, unlike China, 'shoot themselves in the head' over Ukraine". Reuters. 15 June 2022.
  21. ^ "Russia demands Israel unconditionally cease its 'unacceptable' Syria airstrikes". The Times of Israel. 5 July 2022.
  22. ^ "Russia slams France's 'colonial' treatment of Africa". Anadolu Agency. 1 February 2023.
  23. ^ "Controversy surrounds US decision to send cluster munitions to Ukraine". The Hill. 7 July 2023.
  24. ^ "Russia Says U.S. Cluster Bombs for Ukraine Show 'Weakness'". The Moscow Times. 8 July 2023.
  25. ^ "Russia Calls for 'Immediate Ceasefire' in Gaza". The Moscow Times. 7 October 2023.
  26. ^ "Russia Sees Shrunken, Neutral Ukraine As Basis For Peace". Barron's. 6 December 2023.
  27. ^ Roth, Andrew (25 March 2024). "Russia refuses to blame IS for concert hall attack despite growing evidence". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 25 March 2024.
  28. ^ "Russian media darlings hit by EU sanctions." EUobserver, 24 February 2022.
  29. ^ Dziedzic, Stephen (8 March 2022). "New sanctions on Russia as Australia seeks to counter Ukraine invasion misinformation". ABC News. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  30. ^ "Japan slaps more sanctions on Russian officials and companies." The Japan Times, 18 March 2022
  31. ^ "U.S. Treasury Severs More Networks Providing Support for Putin and Russia's Elites". United States Department of the Treasury. 2 June 2022. Retrieved 8 January 2024.
  32. ^ "Russia Sanctions Regulations 2022". Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  34. ^ Carl Schreck (17 November 2016). "Russian Government Spokeswoman Suggests Trump Won Thanks To 'The Jews'". Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty.
  35. ^ Chris Graham (18 November 2016). "Russian spokeswoman accused of fanning 'Jewish conspiracy' after Trump's victory". The Daily Telegraph.
  36. ^ Anastasia Smirdova (11 November 2016). Внешность славянская, ум британский. Фотограф о свадьбе Марии Захаровой [Appearance is Slavic, the mind is British. Photographer about the wedding of Maria Zakharova] (in Russian).
  37. ^ Maria Zakharova (4 May 2017). Всем спасибо за внимание и заботу [Thank you all for your attention and concern] (in Russian) – via Facebook.
  38. ^ Edward Chesnokov (14 November 2016). Фотограф Николай Комиссаров: «Нью-Йоркская свадьба Марии Захаровой была трезвой!» [Photographer Nikolai Komissarov: "The New York wedding of Maria Zakharova was sober!"]. Komsomolskaya Pravda (in Russian).

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Alexander Lukashevich
Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
This page was last edited on 10 June 2024, at 20:06
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