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Polemic Notes on the Need for Russia’s Foreign Policy Changes

Abstract

Over the past decades, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has remained an effective tool ensuring national interests. At the same time, while a full range pressure in all spheres is applied against Moscow, the classical instruments of diplomacy become insufficient. Today, in most Western countries, purposeful work is being done to promote a distorted and negative image of Russia. Henceforth, the significance of information component in Russian foreign policy rises. The aim of the article was to identify a number of areas of possible adaptation of national policy which aspires to advance a truthful and realistic representation of Russia internationally. The author assesses the evolution of the Russian approaches to the information activities abroad in a long-term perspective. This review allows to characterize the record of the Russian Empire as very limited, and of the Soviet Union as somewhat contradictory. In the 1990s, purposeful work on promotion of the Russian image on the international arena was absent, but since the mid-2000s, this activity received a significant impetus. As a result, a wide range of tools was created to facilitate humanitarian contacts and wide informational coverageof potential foreign audiences. While acknowledging these achievements, the author points to the need for better coordination of various institutions involved in the formation of the image of Russia. To reflect high priority of these activities, relevant coordinating bodies should be led at the top political level. In addition, the article highlights excessively reactive and defensive nature of Russian activities in the international information space. In this regard, the necessity of a more assertive approach based on the proposal of an alternative worldview with respect to the Western mainstream is substantiated. Finally, the author emphasizes the need to provide information activities with personnel that is able to fully employ the whole range of modern communication capabilities. In this regard, a separate section of the article is devoted to working with young people as a social group that can play a key role in ensuring the formation of realistic, rather than distorted ideas about Russia in the international arena.

Keywords:

soft  power;  hard  power;  national  image;  cultural  diplomacy;  informational  technology;  coordinating mechanism; geopolitics; public diplomacy.

 


Authors: Evgeny Astakhov

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