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Maria Zakharova
Мария Владимировна Захарова
Maria Zakharova (cropped).jpg
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

24 December 1975 (1975-12-24) (age 45)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Andrei Makarov (m. 2005)
Children Maryana Makarova
Parents 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 (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.

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. 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. 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.

Maria Zakharova, briefing
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, 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. She is often opposed to Jen Psaki (the official representative of the US State Department before 31 March 2015).

Spokesperson Psaki Poses in a New Hat With Russian Counterpart and Their Respective Bosses (11930586556)
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. Zakharova became the first woman in the history of the department to hold this post.

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

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".

Secretary Kerry Displays a Pair of Idaho Potatoes for Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov (11930186784)
Zakharova with Lavrov, Kerry and Victoria Nuland in January 2014

In 2021, Zakharova criticised a massive NATO military exercise called Defender-Europe 21, 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. She claimed that by conducting these exercises, NATO is gathering a "strike fist" near Russia's borders. 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."

Personal life

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

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