19:55 GMT17 April 2021
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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is well-known not only as a charismatic politician, but also as a loving father, an active football fan and a person with a great sense of humor.

    In an interview with Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, he shared his attitude towards sports, recalled his childhood and talked about many other things.

    Below are his thoughts on various issues, ranging from an embarrassing incident with a "hot-microphone" to his attitude towards smoking.

    On smoking

    Lavrov believes that Russia's anti-smoking legislation is too tough. According to him, Russian laws have gone a little too far, "compared to those in Europe" and in other countries.

    The minister believes that the anti-smoking legislation could be modified.

    "There are lots of ways to enjoy this, naturally, bad habit without creating any problems for the nearby non-smokers and I think it is still necessary to incorporate this in our legislation," Lavrov said.

    On his childhood

    Lavrov confessed that his parents never punished him too harshly. In response to the question on what kind of a letter he would write to himself as a child, he said the following: "Sergei, you will have an interesting life ahead."

    On his sleeping habits and food preferences

    Some journalists asked Lavrov how he manages to get enough sleep with his tough schedule and constant flights. "I sleep at night, I always try to live by the time of the country I visit, according to its time zone," Lavrov said.

    During the interview, the diplomat also shared his gastronomic passions.

    "If you're in a country with authentic cuisine, you definitely should try national dishes, whether it is in China, or in Japan, Italy, Hungary," Lavrov said. "So I can eat everything, so to speak," he added.

    On his talent as a poet

    Sergey Lavrov is the author of the hymn of Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). Before his appointment, he was very fond of poetry and wrote poems for his friends' birthdays and other events. However, after taking office, he gradually gave up his hobby.

    "I guess I just have less time now," he confessed.

    On his favorite sport

    The Russian Foreign Minister called football and kayaking his favorite sports. He himself played football several times, for instance during the opening of the all-Russian People's Football League.

    In addition, Lavrov is a fan of the Moscow "Spartak" football team. He repeatedly commented on the games and made suggestions on who should be the team's coach.

    On the incident with the hot-mic

    During a press conference which took place after negotiations with representatives from Saudi Arabia, he commented on the behavior of the journalists in the room using an obscene word which remained almost unheard but could be read by his lips (from Russian, the word could be translated as "dumbasses"). The phrase since then has gone viral on the Internet.

    "Well, I'm sorry, but I'm not the first person to say something thinking the microphone was turned off. Cameron has done it, and then Obama, too. By the way, in his case it was an issue of missile defense," Lavrov said.


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