Chairman of the Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots of the State Duma
Leonid Kalashnikov is the Chairman of the Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots of the State Duma. His direct responsibility is to develop relations with the post-Soviet states. Given his position, he often makes statements regarding Georgia, including towards Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region. He also periodically hosts the representatives of the occupied Georgian regions and visits these regions himself on important occasions.
General Biographical Data
- Leonid Kalashnikov was born on August 6, 1960, in the village of Stepnoy Dvorets, Kabansky District, Buryat ASSR, RSFSR, USSR.
- Due to the loss of his parents at an early age, he was raised at children’s boarding school in the city of Ulan-Ude.
- In 1982, in Ulan-Ude, he graduated from Eastern-Siberian Technological Institute, with the specialty of automobile engineering. During his years as a student, he was seriously engaged in sports. He was a master of sports in underwater swimming and pentathlon. He participated in international level competitions as a member of the Russian national team.
- In the Soviet times, he started his activities in the party from an early age, when he graduated from Komsomol School. In 1985, he became a member of the Communist Party of USSR.
- Currently, Kalashnikov is a member of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Russian Federation, also being the Secretary of the Party for Foreign Affairs.
- Kalashnikov’s name features in the EU and Canadian sanctions instituted regarding the issues connected to Ukraine.
- From 1982, after finishing his studies, Kalashnikov started working in Odessa Car Construction Factory.
- From 1983, he worked at the AvtoVaz Factory, where he held different positions, ranging from master to the Head of Factory Komsomol. In Vaz factory he was Deputy Secretary of Party Committee. In the same period, he was elected as a member of the City Council in the city of Tolyatti.
- In 1990s, he was the leader of an industrial-commercial company Inkom Auto.
- From 1996, he moved to Moscow. Also from 1996, he was the Head of United Electricity Complex Corporation. He was against Anatoly Chubais’s energy field reform.
- His party life, disrupted after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, continued in 2000, when he became a member of the Communist Party of Russian Federation and an advisor to the leader of the party, Gennady Zyuganov.
- In 2006, he was appointed as the Chief Editor of Worker’s Newspaper.
- In 2008, he became a member of the Central Committee Presidium of the Communist Party. In his capacities as Secretary, he curated international and economic ties.
- In April 2010, due to the passing of one of the MPs, he became MP of the State Duma. He was the First Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
- In 2011, he was elected to the State Duma of 6th convocation from the Communist Party, from Samara Oblast. He was the First Secretary of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
- In 2016, he was elected to the State Duma of 7th convocation from the Communist Party. On October 6, Kalashnikov became the Chairman of the Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots of the State Duma, despite the fact that the ruling party has a majority in the Committee. The Leader of the Party, Gennady Zyuganov, stated about the appointment of the member of his party as the Chairman of the Committee soon after the elections. Zyuganov was the member of this Committee himself as well. On the second day of his appointment, Kalashnikov discussed the issues of relations with Georgia and Ukraine at the Committee session.
- At Kalashnikov’s invitation, on July 11, 2017, a meeting was held at the Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots, with three members of a Georgian political party Patriotic Alliance of Georgia – Giorgi Lomia, Ada Marshania and Nato Chkheidze. At the meeting, they agreed on creating the inter-parliamentary working group. Three months after the meeting with Georgian MPs, on October 3, 2017, Kalashnikov met MPs from Patriotic Alliance of Georgia once again. At the meeting, Kalashnikov talked about the issue of restoring diplomatic relations between Russia and Georgia, yet he also admitted that at this stage, it is impossible. Another meeting with Kalashnikov and Patriotic Alliance of Georgia representatives was held in Moscow in July 15, 2019.
- In 2021, he was elected to the State Duma of the 8th convocation from the Communist Party. He became the Chairman of the Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots of the State Duma.
Relations with Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region
- In June 2018, Kalashnikov met with the de facto Speaker of Abkhazia, Valeri Kvarchia, in Moscow, and discussed the issues of bilateral relations with him.
- On August 26, 2018, on the 10th anniversary of Russian recognition of independence of Abkhazia, the de facto President of Abkhazia, Raul Khajimba, met with the Russian delegation in Sokhumi, which also included Kalashnikov. According to Kalashnikov’s statement, the Republic of Abkhazia is an example of how to protect independence.
- On October 9, 2019, in Abkhazia, inauguration of Raul Khajimba, de facto President, was held. Apart of representatives of local de facto government, representatives of Russia also participated in the solemn ceremony. Among the guests was Kalashnikov as well.
- On February 17, 2022, during his visit to Moscow, the de facto Minister of Foreign Affairs of Abkhazia, Inal Ardzinba, met with members of the Committee for CIS Affairs of the State Duma. At the meeting, the parties talked about creating a commission within the Committee, which will discuss the issue of Abkhazia’s attractiveness for business. According to Kalashnikov, the issue was discussed at a meeting with Ardzinba. The initiative to create the commission belonged to Ardzinba.
- On May 25, 2022, a Russian-Abkhazian working meeting was held in the Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots of the State Duma of the Russian Federation. In addition to Russian MPs, members of the de facto government of Abkhazia also attended the meeting, including the de facto Minister of Foreign Affairs, Inal Ardzinba. A number of reprimands were voiced from the Russian side. Kalashnikov reprimanded the Abkhaz side for a new legislative initiative (mandatory knowledge of the Abkhazian language for officials and those wishing to participate in the “elections”), which, in his opinion, will discriminate against the Russian language. Abkhazia's de facto Ministry of Foreign Affairs made an urgent statement about the use of the Russian language in Abkhazia.
- On December 1, 2022, the Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Vyacheslav Volodin, paid an official visit to the occupied Abkhazia. The official purpose of Volodin's visit was to sign a cooperation agreement between the Russian State Duma and the de facto parliament of Abkhazia. Volodin was accompanied by: the Deputy Speaker of the State Duma, Sergey Neverov, the Chairman of the Committee for CIS Affairs, Kalashnikov and his first deputy - Konstantin Zatulin, the Chairman of the Defense Committee, Andrei Kartapalov, the Chairman of the Committee on Tourism and Tourism Infrastructure Development, Sangaji Tarbaev, and the First Deputy Chairperson of the International Affairs Committee, Svetlana Zhurova.
- On August 26, 2023, a delegation of the Russian State Duma visited Tskhinvali. The visit of the delegation was related to the 15th anniversary of the recognition of the independence of the de facto republic of the Tskhinvali region by Russia (August 26, 2008). Kalashnikov was also a member of the delegation and was awarded the “Order of Friendship.”