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Putin’s grey eminence, Sergei Ivanov, could be making a comeback

The Russian delegation on last week’s trip to Finland included Sergei Ivanov, a longtime Putin ally who a year ago fell from grace

There was great surprise in August of 2016, when Vladimir Putin’s longtime chief-of-staff and trusted KGB colleague, was removed from his post. He was replaced by the younger but relatively unknown Anton Vaino.

Ivanov was relegated to an apparent sinecure post, “Special representative for environment and transport issues.”

But now that may have changed. Ivanov made a surprise appearance alongside Putin at top level negotiations with the President of Finland last week.

The Russian president likely tapped his old comrade for his extensive Nordic credentials.

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Besides English, Ivanov is fluent in Swedish – which is the second official language of Finland and a required subject in Finnish schools.

Ivanov was also posted to the Soviet embassy in Helsinki in the 1980s, giving him first hand knowledge of the country.

As the first high profile appearance for Ivanov in nearly a year, the trip raises the possibility that Ivanov could be making a comeback into Putin’s inner circle. Kremlin watchers will surely want to keep a close eye on his future moves.

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