Maria Zakharova

Maria Zakharova
Мария Владимировна Захарова[1]
Maria Zakharova 2017 (2).jpg
Zakharova in 2017
Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (Spokesperson)
Assumed office
10 August 2015
President Vladimir Putin
Preceded by Alexander Lukashevich
Personal details
Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova

(1975-12-24) 24 December 1975 (age 46)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Andrei Makarov
(m. 2005)
Children Maryana Makarova
Parent(s) Vladimir Zakharov, Irina Zakharova
Alma mater Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University)

Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova (Russian: Мария Владимировна Захарова; born 24 December 1975) is the Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation[2] (Spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation) from 10 August 2015. She has a degree of Candidate in Historical Sciences, the Russian equivalent of a PhD.[3]

Early life and education

Zakharova was born to a family of diplomats. Her father, Vladimir Zakharov, moved the family to Beijing in 1981 when he was appointed to Soviet embassy there.[4] The family left Beijing in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed and returned to Russia in 1993. Her mother, Irina, is an art historian who has worked at Moscow's Pushkin Museum.[4] In 1998, Maria Zakharova graduated from the Faculty of International Journalism at MGIMO in the field of orientalism and journalism. Her pre-diploma apprenticeship was carried out at the Russian Embassy in Beijing.


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.

Zakharova during a Foreign Ministry briefing in February 2016

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,[5] 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 in social networks. She is one of the most quoted Russian diplomats.[6] She was often opposed to Jen Psaki (the official representative of the US State Department before 31 March 2015).[7]

Zakharova with Sergey Lavrov, John Kerry and Jennifer Psaki in Paris, January 2014

On 10 August 2015, by order of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zakharova was appointed director of the Information and Press Department.[8] Zakharova became the first woman in the history of the department to hold this post.[9]

In 2016 she was chosen as one of BBC's 100 Women.[10]

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".[11]

Zakharova with Lavrov, Kerry and Victoria Nuland in January 2014

In 2021, Zakharova criticised a massive 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]


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.[16][17]

On 28 April 2017, Zakharova appeared on Yahoo! News discussing the current international relations with Katie Couric. When Couric brought up the issue of torture against LGBT individuals in Chechnya, Zakharova shut the question down, stating it was not her issue to discuss.[18]

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."[19]

On 28 November 2019, Zakharova criticised the decision of Czech mayor of Řeporyje, cadastral area of Prague and ex-journalist Pavel Novotný, to build statue of Andrey Vlasov. The Czech news wrote "Regarding the intended monument, Zacharova added that she usually used terms such as "inflammatory" or "inadmissible", but in the present case it was an "absolutely terrible initiative". According to her, the aim is not only the mere falsification of history, but "reincarnation, pulling out of the grave the history of neo-Nazism, fascism and everything related to it"." Andrey Vlasov defected to Nazi Germany after being captured and headed the Russian Liberation Army (Russkaya osvoboditel'naya armiya (ROA)). At the war's end, he changed sides again and ordered the ROA to aid the Prague uprising against the Germans. Later, he was captured by Soviet forces, tried for treason and hanged. Pavel Novotný also has written a letter to Vladimir Putin in reaction of Russian diplomats statement, criticizing interference into local affairs and stating "if people here want to build a monument because they feel that Řeporyje and Prague owe the Vlasov, they will simply build it."[20][21]

Personal life

On 7 November 2005, Zakharova married Andrei Makarov at the Russian Consulate in New York City.[22] They have a daughter Maryana,[23] born in August 2010.[24]


  1. ^ МИД: коалиция во главе с США только имитирует борьбу с ИГ [Foreign Ministry: a coalition led by the US only mimics the fight against the IG] (in Russian). Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  2. ^ Директор ДИП МИД Роcсии [Director of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs] (in Russian). Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  3. ^ Говорит Москва [Says Moscow] (in Russian). Retrieved 5 June 2016.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Мария Владимировна Захарова [Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova] (in Russian). 27 September 2015.
  6. ^ Официальным спикером МИД России стала Мария Захарова [The official spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry was Maria Zakharova]. Российская газета (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]. Lenta (in Russian). Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ "BBC 100 Women 2016: Who is on the list?". BBC News. 21 November 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  11. ^ Daniel McLaughlin (3 October 2017). "Russia and Serbia deride EU reaction to Catalan vote". The Irish Times.
  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. ^ Carl Schreck (17 November 2016). "Russian Government Spokeswoman Suggests Trump Won Thanks To 'The Jews'". Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty.
  17. ^ Chris Graham (18 November 2016). "Russian spokeswoman accused of fanning 'Jewish conspiracy' after Trump's victory". The Daily Telegraph.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ "Russia to West: D-Day wasn't decisive in ending World War Two". Reuters. 5 June 2019.
  20. ^ "Starostovi Řeporyjí se podařilo vytočit Moskvu -". (in Czech). Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  21. ^ "O pomníku nebudeme s Ruskem diskutovat, napsal Novotný Putinovi. Přečtěte si celý dopis". (in Czech). Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  22. ^ 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).
  23. ^ Maria Zakharova (4 May 2017). Всем спасибо за внимание и заботу [Thank you all for your attention and concern] (in Russian) – via Facebook.
  24. ^ 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