Russian president appoints Balkans expert to replace ambassador in Serbia

Source: Matthijs Mejan

Senior Foreign Ministry official and Balkans expert Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko has been appointed the new Russian ambassador to Serbia, Russian media reported quoting a decree by President Vladimir Putin.

Russian news agencies said that “President Putin relieved Alexander Chepurin of his duties as Ambassador to Serbia and appointed Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko to the post.” The decree was published on the government's web site.  

Botsan-Kharchenko is coming to Belgrade from the post of director of the Fourth European Department at the Foreign Ministry. The Sputnik portal said that he is a graduate of the Foreign Ministry College of International Relations, that he speaks English and Serbian and is considered to be an expert on the Balkans.  

Botsan-Kharchenko is no stranger to the region, having served in the Russian embassy in Croatia between 1997 and 2002, as the foreign minister’s special envoy for the Balkans between 2004 and 2008 and as Russia’s Ambassador in Bosnia from 2009 to 2014 when he took over as head of one of the ministry European departments.