The Swiss Crown (Toward A. I. Stepanov's 75th Birthday Anniversary)

Author: B. Piadyshev

The Swiss Crown (Toward A. I. Stepanov's 75th Birthday Anniversary)


THE CROWN OF ANDREI IVANOVICH STEPANOV 's brilliant diplomatic career was his mission as the Russian ambassador to Switzerland. In those years Russia was already better known, better understood, and respected there. Also, don't let us forget about Liechtenstein, this small, enigmatic principality in central Europe between Austria and Switzerland. Before A. I. Stepanov's arrival, we did not have diplomatic relations with it. He returned home as ambassador to two capitals - the Swiss Bern and the Liechtenstein Vaduz.

RF Ambassador Andrei Stepanov and Baron E.A. von Falz Fein (left), a Russian patriot living in Liechtenstein and doing a lot to promote Russian culture in the West

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Switzerland is one of the most unique countries in the world community of states: Consider its complete absorption with its own affairs, interests, and concerns; its political neutrality, nonalignment with military-political blocs, and even, until recently, its non-accession to the United Nations. Switzerland's uniqueness put an imprint on bilateral relations, not - contrary to what might have been expected - leaving too much work for foreign ambassadors. In their majority it was people - how shall we say it - well established and nearing the end of their career that were sent as ambassadors to Bern. In Soviet diplomacy, that was an unwritten but a hard and fast rule. There were of course exceptions. Andrei Ivanovich Stepanov was one of those brilliant exceptions.

Andrei Ivanovich Stepanov is a real Russian man - in his ethnic background, in his character, temperament, amicability, and in the profundity of thought.

The Stepanovs came from the Kaluga area. His father, Ivan Fedorovich Stepanov, was a native of the village of Kas'movo; his mother, Lidiia Ivanovna, came from the town of Kozel'sk, whose residents, in 1238, put up stiff resistance to Khan Batyi. For many ...

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