Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s U.N. Ambassador, Dies at 64
UNITED NATIONS — Vitaly I. Churkin, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, who represented his country through times of domestic tumult and rising tensions with the West, died on Monday morning while at work in Manhattan. He would have turned 65 on Tuesday.
联合国——俄罗斯驻联合国大使、在该国内部局势动荡不安、与西方的关系日趋紧张的年代代表其利益的维塔利·I·丘尔金(Vitaly I. Churkin)，于周一在曼哈顿的工作岗位上去世。他原本将于周二迎来自己的65岁生日。
His death comes at an important juncture in Russian-U.S. relations, with many diplomats watching to see how he would interact with Nikki R. Haley, the Trump administration’s U.N. ambassador. This month, she condemned what she called Russia’s “aggressive” actions in Ukraine on the same day that Churkin praised Haley’s track record in politics. “I never underestimate my colleagues,” he told reporters.
丘尔金去世之际，恰逢俄美关系处于重要关头，很多外交官都在密切关注他将如何与特朗普政府的驻联合国大使尼基·R·黑利(Nikki R. Haley)打交道。本月，在黑利就她口中的俄罗斯对乌克兰的“侵略性”行径表示谴责的同一天，丘尔金称颂了黑利的政治履历。“我永远都不会低估我的同行，”他告诉记者。
The deputy Russian ambassador, Petr Iliichev, said in brief remarks at a U.N. meeting Monday that Churkin had been in the office “until the final moments.” Churkin had not been at Security Council meetings often recently, but he brushed off reporters’ questions last week about his health.
A caller to 911 on Monday reported that a person had gone into cardiac arrest at the Russian mission on East 67th Street in Manhattan, according to a Fire Department official. When firefighters arrived two minutes later, the official said, police officers from the 19th Precinct station house across the street were already on the scene performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Paramedics arrived two minutes after the firefighters, the official said.
Churkin, something of a legend in diplomatic circles, was a former child actor who could be caustic and wry in equal measure in his exchanges with U.S. counterparts. Once, after his American counterpart, Samantha Power, scolded him for Russia’s actions in Aleppo, Syria — “Are you truly incapable of shame?” she asked — he sharply accused her of acting like Mother Teresa. Churkin had formerly worked as a translator, and as ambassador he sometimes became visibly annoyed with United Nations translators who could not keep up with his rapid rat-a-tat speaking style.
曾是一名童星的丘尔金堪称外交界的传奇人物，在和美国对等官员打交道的过程中既刁钻又富于幽默感。有一次，他因俄罗斯在叙利亚阿勒颇的行动受到了时任美国驻联合国大使萨曼莎·鲍尔(Samantha Power)的斥责——“你是真的感觉不到羞耻吗？”她问道——随即尖刻地挪揄对方正摆出特蕾莎修女(Mother Teresa)的样子。丘尔金以前当过翻译，担任大使期间，他有时明显会对联合国的翻译感到不耐烦，因为他语速飞快，像机关枪一样，而他们难以跟上。
He began his career in the Soviet era, served as spokesman for the Foreign Ministry under Mikhail S. Gorbachev and represented Russia at the United Nations in recent years as relations with the United States soured, first over Libya and then over the crises in Syria and Ukraine. In an interview in October, Churkin said the last time Russian-U.S. relations were so strained was more than four decades ago, when the Arab-Israeli conflict nearly brought the two Cold War powers to a military confrontation.
他的职业生涯始于苏联时代，在米哈伊尔·S·戈尔巴乔夫(Mikhail S. Gorbachev)当政时做过外交部发言人；近年来则在俄美关系先是因为利比亚问题、接着又因为叙利亚和乌克兰的危机而出现恶化之际担任俄罗斯驻联合国大使。丘尔金于去年10月接受采访时表示，俄美关系极为紧张，上一次出现这种情形还是在40多年前——当时，阿以冲突差一点引发冷战时期两大强国的军事对峙。
At his death, he was the longest-serving ambassador on the U.N. Security Council, and he sometimes jokingly called himself as the “permanent representative,” the formal title for each member nation’s top envoy to the U.N. Iliichev, his deputy, described him as a “strong negotiator, wonderful individual, a teacher.”
News of Churkin’s death sent a ripple of shock across the diplomatic community. He was widely seen as a deft diplomat, skilled at using the rules and protocol of the U.N. system to his country’s advantage, including Russia’s veto on the Security Council. He wielded that veto to block six resolutions that would have punished the Syrian government, a staunch ally of Moscow, and he met every Western criticism of Russia’s conduct in the Syrian conflict with retorts about the Western role in Yemen and elsewhere.
Power, who sparred with him regularly in the council chambers, said on Twitter that she was “devastated” by the news of Churkin’s death.
“Diplomatic maestro & deeply caring man who did all he cld to bridge US-RUS differences,” she wrote.
Her predecessor, Susan E. Rice, called Churkin “highly effective and very funny.”
她的前任苏珊·E·赖斯(Susan E. Rice)说丘尔金“非常有效率、非常风趣”。
Other diplomats also reacted Monday to his death.
“Vitaly was a master of diplomacy,” said François Delattre, France’s envoy to the United Nations. And Gérard Araud, who once served in that post and is now France’s ambassador in Washington, called Churkin “abrasive, funny and technically impeccable” in a Twitter post.
“维塔利是一位外交大师，”法国驻联合国大使弗朗索瓦·德拉特(Francois Delattre)说。曾任法国驻联合国大使、现为法国驻华盛顿大使的热拉尔·阿罗(Gérard Araud)在一则推文中表示，丘尔金“性子暴烈，同时又很风趣，在技术层面无懈可击”。