High-level Soviet diplomat. A graduate of Berlin University, Suritz joined the Russian revolutionary movement at the age of 20. He began his career in the diplomatic service in 1918. His posts were as follows:
- 1918-1919, assistant head of the Soviet mission in Denmark;
- 1919-1921, Soviet ambassador (polpred) in Afghanistan;
- 1922-1923, diplomatic representative in Norway;
- 1923-1934, Soviet ambassador to Turkey;
- 1934-1937, Soviet ambassador in Germany. (William Dodd, then the U.S. Ambassador in Berlin, called Suritz “the brightest head among the diplomats here.”)
- 1937-1940, Soviet Ambassador to France.
A diplomat of the so-called Litvinov school, Suritz was against the rapprochement of the Soviet Union with Nazi Germany that culminated with the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact in August 1939. However, in March 1940, soon after the end of the Soviet-Finnish war, Suritz sent a cable to Stalin denouncing England and France for having provoked that war. The cable was made public, and Suritz had to leave France as persona non grata. From 1940 to 1945, Suritz was a Counselor in the Soviet Foreign Office. After the war, in 1946-1947, he was the Soviet Ambassador to Brazil. He retired in 1948.