As Vladimir Putin wound up his 24-hour visit to New Delhi, a word about some personalities past and present. Present was Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s long-serving foreign minister. Not present was Alexander Kadakin, Russia’s long-standing ambassador in Delhi who passed away in January last year. Lavrov and Kadakin were batchmates from the Russian foreign service. Lavrov came to Colombo as a young diplomat to learn Sinhalese while Kadakin came to Delhi to learn Hindi. In office since 2004, Lavrov now ranks among Russia’s longest serving foreign ministers while his boss Putin, with 18 years under his belt, is just behind late Joseph Stalin as Russia’s unquestioned leader.