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Recently retired Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak served for 9 years as Russia's envoy in Washington, and before that he was Deputy Foreign Minister for 5 years.

People who know him say that he stood out as a diplomat for his jovial disposition and social tact. Ever courteous, upbeat, friendly, welcoming, with a quick smile and a good sense of humor. He was a popular and welcome figure in the US, criss-crossing the country, meeting and greeting, giving the lie to the cold war stereotype of the dour Russian apparatchik, appearing regularly on political talk shows.

He genuinely likes the USA, identifies with its people, and saw himself as a friendly emissary, working to improve relations, which is how many Americans who knew him saw him. He was popular and well-liked.

The picture of him having a laugh with Trump and Lavrov actually captures his MO quite accurately.

Genial charm aside, he is also a savvy and astute observer, so what he says about his impressions of America is also interesting - and remarkable coming from such a tactful, inherently diplomatic and positive personality.