Elita Obschestva Magazine published an Interview with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PMR

Elita Obschestva Magazine published an Interview with Minister of Foreign Affairs of the PMR

Charming and competent diplomat, a woman and a mother, and a politician – it seems impossible, but all these characteristics are combined in one person. She does not allow herself any indulgences neither in personal life, nor in work. She tries to escape the weaker sex stereotype and considers her 12-year-old daughter to be her major critic, whose compliments she takes as dearest and most sincere.

Young and distinguished professional of yet unrecognized Pridnestrovian Republic, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nina Shtanski told “Elita Obschestva” magazine how it is to represent State on international arena without loosing tolerance and mercy – major principles of her life.

- Nina Viktorovna, You are heading one of the most difficult fields in the government of the Republic. Foreign policy is a difficult task in all the countries, especially if we take unrecognized States. Did you expect this appointment?

- For ten years I worked continuously under the leadership of current Head of State Yevgeny Shevchuk. For all these years, both in the Parliament and in the social-political movement, I was connected with foreign policy and international relations. And it was always interesting for me to be engaged in this work. If not, I would never get a high appreciation from my chief. He values high dedication, diligence (which is rather difficult if you are not occupied with your favorite work) and professionalism. The last thing was always a stimulus for me to improve my knowledge, qualification and to get additional education. Thus, I confess, personal example of my chief who at that time studied in the Diplomatic Academy in Kiev pushed me forward in working over my dissertation. I had possibility to study literature which he brought after his sessions. It determined in many respects my choice of specialty when I entered post-graduate studies.

Did I expect my appointment? I can answer that I was ready to fulfill the tasks I have been entrusted with. It is a great honor for me to present my Republic on international arena; I understand the great degree of responsibility which I got together with this high position. But if I was entrusted with another field of work I would work with similar zeal. Just because I am not used to work otherwise.

-  You have already met with your colleagues from other countries who are active in the process of settlement of conflict. What did they say at your very first meeting? Something like ‘what a young and charming minister' or something like ‘whom did they send to work with'?

-  … (laughs) Sometimes they tell about youth and about charm. I even realized suddenly that in order to look younger woman should occupy high position. Everybody will immediately notice that she is young. It's a pity that it will end soon.

How many compliments do you get daily?

- I don't count them. Exchange of compliments is an integral part of diplomatic art. But, of course, it is pleasant to get compliments. To be fair, I get compliments from my daughter most often. She is 12 y.o. And I listen to her practical advices and critical remarks.

-  Did you come to the ministry with your team or are you forming it now? Do you think your predecessor leaved you a good legacy?

- In spite of reorganization which I conducted after my appointment, we managed to preserve the team which worked in the field of foreign politics. Of course, there are new colleagues entering our ranks. I must say, I am honored to be in charge of a well-organized and united collective of professionals who love their work. From my part I am trying to make the work of diplomats more interesting and comfortable, at least as far it is possible. We are working as a team, making brainstorms, aiding each other, making disputes. Similar approach to team work has been introduced by Yevgeny Shevchuk in Parliament and I learned a lot of important lessons from it.

Did your life, habits, personality change after appointment? Or are such changes still in progress?

- Fortunately, no. Rhythm and pace of work were no less intensive before; habits and character can hardly be changed (I hope it is not that easy).

Do acquaintances, friends, comrades ask you to assist in something?

- This happens. There is a widely spread stereotype that after having occupied a certain public position, a person is automatically endued with broad possibilities to solve great number of problems of their friends and acquaintances without leaving his/her office. Like, dialing a telephone number is enough for this. Frequently we have to explain to people that a “telephone right” remained in the past. It is a relic of the previous epoch.

Are your relatives happy with your status? Do they worry about you?

-  Yes, they are glad for me. All my success is a merit of both my relatives, who have for so many years been patient to my late returns from work, frequent trips, and my insufficient attention towards them. Thanks to my mother who has entirely devoted her life to the bringing up of her granddaughter, my daughter, I managed to study a lot, along with rather strenuous work.

Can you name the first success or prerequisites to it?

- It is said, “Don't count your chickens before they are hatched”. It is still early to evaluate success. Moreover, it is better this evaluation be given by other people.

Who is easier to make arrangements with – men or women?

- When we speak about a partnership dialogue (and this is exactly how I see any negotiations, no matter how difficult starting positions would be), gender factor is left in the background and appears to be of no importance. I think it is the specificity of the diplomatic work.

Has your office been given a new look, or does everything remains at this point the way it was under your predecessor?

- Yes, it has been transformed but insignificantly because I don't have enough time for improvements.

In general, what is your attitude to comfort? What do you like in everyday life, at work, or in the kitchen?

-  Probably, because of peculiarities of my job, I like to be at home very much. Here reigns special comfort and coziness. A kitchen for me is first of all a place for communication with the family and friends, therefore, it looks more like a place for family get-togethers rather than a cooking place. As regards the job, it is important for me that people coming to their work places not experience any discomfort. On the first place is practicability, cleanliness, and correct function of all and everything. I am myself unpretentious regarding the workplace environment. The main thing is that everything should be in working condition.

- You are actively using Facebook, practically every day. What do people write you?

- Facebook is a universal instrument for me. It is a possibility to learn the latest news, quickly get in touch with somebody, and exchange short messages with friends who, like me, don't have enough time to meet in the café, for example, and have a chat after work. Besides, resources of this kind allow communicating with citizens for whom we are doing our job. Sometimes, they criticize – and strongly, sometimes offer advice.

Currently you are doing postgraduate studies at MGIMO. What are you working at?

-  Being an applicant for a degree of a candidate of political science at the Department of World Political Processes, I am preparing to defend my thesis on the conflict settlement in Pridnestrovie in the framework of specialty “problems of international relations and global development”. Five years of interaction with the department for me mean great opportunities for enriching knowledge and the most valuable experience of communication with authoritative scholars. Many writings of such members of the department as M. Lebedeva, P. Tsygankov, D. Feldman, K. Borishpolets, S. Veselovsky have become practical guides in my everyday work.

-  Does it happen to you when you tell yourself, “Why do I need all this?”

-  No. I shall confess, years before in certain moments against extreme fatigue I could say it to myself in a fit of anger. But it was long ago. We harden as the years go by.

-  What necessary qualities should a woman and a mother, a woman and a politician possess?

-  High responsibility for the beginnings, decisions and actions. Decency. Hard work, huge patience and mercy.

by Vladislav Kovalenko