Russian spymaster-statesman Primakov dies at 85

MOSCOW, (Reuters) – Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, who helped restore stability after an economic crash in 1998 and shifted the focus of foreign policy away from the West, has died at the age of 85 after a long illness.

Yevgeny Primakov
Yevgeny Primakov

A former Soviet Communist apparatchik, Primakov went on to become a spymaster and foreign minister who was seen abroad as a hawk but was revered in Russia as a statesman and crisis manager.

In March 1999, when he was prime minister, he turned his plane around over the Atlantic and abandoned a trip to the United States when it became clear that NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia, a Russian ally, were imminent.

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