Nikonov has been heading the Russkiy Mir Foundation established by Vladimir Putin to promote Russian language and culture internationally -Wiki (Read: Spy Craft)
The Russkiy Mir Foundation is a government-funded organisation aimed at promoting the Russian language, and “forming the Russian World as a global project” -Wiki (Read: Extreme Spy Craft)
Appears that Mr Nikonov has some cred when it comes to trade craft. If there is one Russian making that statement other than Putin, he would be the one.
Edit: Nikonov’s work has seen him promote a “patriotic” version of Russian history in the nation’s schools, and serving as the assistant to the head of the KGB in 1991.
Nikonov’s grandfather, Vyacheslav Molotov, rose to power as a protégé of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. -Moscowtimes