Vladimir Petrowsky – The Master Diplomat

With a foreword by President Mikhail Gorbatchev

Edited by S.M. Karlen

This book gives insights into the life of Vladimir Petrovsky, an important figure in the political landscape of the second half of the 20th century. His diplomatic career took him from the ideologically confined Soviet system to the pinnacle of internationalism. The book highlights his significant contributions to many key processes, such as the Helsinki Final Act, Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika, disarmament and the strengthening of the United Nations. Petrovsky describes the necessary tools to create a more inclusive world, a world where individual and collective security, development and self-determination are at the core of all deliberations and actions.

These pages bring to light the extraordinary combination of capacities and qualities in an exemplary global citizen: intellectual brilliance, integrity, wisdom, compassion. We gain access to his private life and activities beyond the sphere of politics. The tributes at the end of the book illustrate the deep and enduring personal impact of his life and work on statesmen, colleagues and friends.

Vladimir Petrovsky envisioned a world where security and peaceful coexistence are a reality, where unity flourishes in diversity, where the feeling of the oneness of all humanity prevails.

Tributes to Vladimir Petrovsky

Vladimir Petrovsky led a full and accomplished life. He dedicated his career to public service — first to the people of Russia, and then to the wider international community and the United Nations.

Vladimir was an individual whose vision of the world revealed a belief in our common humanity — a quality which is all too rare, but precious.

Living through one of the tensest periods of international relations, he was the quintessential diplomat: a strong and consistent voice for dialogue, playing a key role in the complex diplomatic challenges of the Cold-War era.
The United Nations and the international community of Geneva were shaped by his vision of a city of peace and diversity, where people from all corners of the world work in partnership for a fairer, more secure world.

Kofi Annan
Secretary-General of the United Nations, 1997-2006

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In Vladimir Petrovsky’s words:

The time has come to develop a planetary way of thinking which presumes the definition of national interest within the global context.


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